Layla Tavangar

Who better to get some Senior Wisdom from than the gal that won the position of Barnard senior class president? Up next, we introduce the wisdom of Layla Tavangar.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Layla Tavangar, Barnard, Economics & Psychology, Berwyn, PA

Claim to fame: Barnard Senior Class President, Ex-Treasurer and glorified non-musician in the CUMB, Delta Grandma, the girl whose name you don’t remember that said hi to you that one time because you had a class together years ago.

Where are you going? Off to Los Angeles to work in Sales at Red Bull, but I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t come back to NYC after a (relatively) short while!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Figure out how to make the most of your time, sooner rather than later. For me, that meant doing almost all of my schoolwork in quiet places where people could judge me for not focusing (Butler 209, 303, and the Brooks Study Lounge, mainly). It also meant going out at least twice per week and diving head-first into extracurriculars. I have yet to meet someone who can decide to stay in on a weekend night to do non-immediately-due homework who didn’t end up wasting most of their night procrastinating.

2. Join at least one club with a strong social component ASAP. Talking to fellow seniors, the most common complaint they have about their first year is usually that they didn’t feel a part of a community for a while. I don’t hear this, however, from most people who joined cultural groups, the CUMB, greek life, CIRCA, etc. as soon as they stepped on campus and/or became eligible to join. Don’t feel like everything you’re a part of needs to play some professional purpose. Your passion for the people you’ll meet in these groups and the communities they foster actually can make you stand out among an applicant pool of higher GPAs and dime-a-dozen internships, if that’s what you’re worried about. Above all else, these groups will give you support in everything you do on and off campus, before and after graduation.

3. Don’t keep your thoughts and emotions to yourself. I promise, your friends/floormates/RA/therapist all have feelings too, and can help you with whatever you’re going through. Keeping it all in makes life feel pretty lonely, and it distances you from people who probably want to get closer.In conjunction with this, don’t keep doing things that make you feel bad. It sounds obvious, but it’s really not. Whether it’s a major, certain friendships, activities, etc., just don’t continue with things that are making you less happy just because you don’t want to be a “quitter” or you feel obligated to continue.

“Back in my day…” Barnard could swipe into JJs, Bacchanal lived up to its name, the Columbia Daily Spectator also lived up to its name, people read Bwog, you could throw a party without it getting shut down, and differences of opinion were tolerated.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I try to do what makes me happy and laugh at what doesn’t.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Intro to Linguistics with John McWhorter. I had way too much fun doing the homework, and Professor McWhorter is a fantastic lecturer. I’d highly recommend it to just about anyone.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? A life without pizza is no life at all.

One thing to do before graduating: If I have to pick just one, it’d be to go on an away trip with the CUMB during football season. There is truly nothing else like it in the world.

Any regrets? Not really. Sometimes I regret being pre-med freshman and sophomore years, but those years taught me a lot about myself; what makes me truly happy (and unhappy), how to grapple with establishing an entirely new sense of self, and a few science-y facts here and there. I also wish I could have taken so many other classes, but I still have another ~70 years of learning left!