As the year comes to a close, we present you Bwog’s last Senior Wisdom of the Class of 2015 by our former Managing Editor Alexandra Avvocato.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Alexandra “Avv” “Ahhvvvvv” Avvocato, CC, English, New Rochelle, N.Y. aka Westchester aka Bestchester
Claim to fame: Managerially edited this publication for 2013 with the incomparable Alexandra Svokos (love you, miss you), during which I wrote some of the best, or worst, puns of my writing career, and consumed an absurd amount of cheese sticks. Some of my credits include: Poopin’ in Pupin; A Day in the Life of an Engineer; a Power Suite that had to get taken down and resulted in a meeting with the dean; a How to Make Your Own Ving Key post that almost had to get taken down and resulted in a meeting with the Office of Judicial Affairs; and a Blue Note that also had to get taken down and resulted in accidental sacrilege of the Catholic mass. I’ve also helped to continue the Alexandras-in-digital-blogging tradition by briefly taking over IvyGate, which is really just like Bwog but more irreverent and usually about Dartmouth. Also, my last name is Avvocato.
Where are you going? To assume my place at the bottom of the totem pole in the legal corporate hierarchy, which is ironic since I’ve spent four years majoring in Unemployability Studies. I’ve asked some friends to keep an eye on me and let me know when I start transforming into a soulless robot. Since I’ll be living in Prospect Heights, maybe I can become a painfully self-aware post-hipster robot instead.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?
1. Despite popular opinion, you totally can meet your best friends for 4 years (AND COUNTING HI GUYS) during NSOP.
2. The power of sunlight is real. Don’t let the apocalyptic winters get you down; everyone sucks a little or a lot more when they haven’t bathed and are wrapped up in three Canada Geese. Basically, you may as well write off the whole winter.
3. Everyone is posturing, all the time. And while it’s tempting to use that knowledge to play affectionate games with people, it’s much better to hammer away at the posturing until you get to the much more interesting person underneath that. Keep in mind while you do that that you’re probably also posturing.
3b. It is so much healthier, more freeing, and more glorious to remove yourself from stress mirroring, and when someone tries to enact their stress and misery at you, to respond with something totally off topic.
3c. The sooner you stop caring what people are saying about you on the internet (and they always are), the better.
3d. Always always always engage, except for when it’s better not to engage.
“Back in my day…”
- Bacchanal was a free concert open to all Columbia students, alums, and guests.
- We didn’t have a Special Advisor on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, who then became our Executive Vice President for University Life. It’s interesting to track the development of campus issues by charting all the newly created administrative roles.
- There was no cute, overpriced café in Philosophy that completed the now-holy trifecta of Nous, Brownie’s, and Joe.
- You could use your credit card at Milano for a $2.50 container of Caprese salad.
- Senior Night was at Havana, and it was far grimier.
- The articles in the Spec op-ed section weren’t exclusively about wellness. I’m pretty sure that they were always about the white, straight Jewish male’s perspective on diversity, though.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: If I ever practice law in Italy, my last name will literally be my profession. That’s what keeps me going.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? So many. Anything with Eleanor Johnson; Margo Jefferson’s Modern Arts Writer; any class with Philip Kitcher (do I sound like that kid in your seminar yet?). But probably on the scale of my personal happiness, I’d have to say Erik Gray’s Love Poetry seminar.
One thing to do before graduating: Be publicly, embarrassingly proven wrong. Whether it’s in a classroom, in front of a friend, in the middle of New York, get shown up and realize that you actually don’t know what the hell you’re talking about or what the hell you’re doing. If you haven’t been really wrong at least once (more like pretty often), you don’t care enough.
Any regrets? Maybe not smiling more? No, screw it; I’m not apologizing for that. My face is just like that. In all honesty, I regret being passive about keeping in touch with people. Friendships require work, and most people here are lazy about that sort of thing – myself the most. I’ve been lucky enough to have some very long-lasting friendships here, and to have some excellent recurring dinner party guests, but I could have done much more work cultivating and maintaining the other, smaller friendships.