In honor of Orgo Night, we thought it would be fitting to feature some CUMBers in today’s senior wisdoms. First, we bring you former Orgo Night writer and Spectator columnist, Ziyad Abdelfattah.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Ziyad Abdelfattah, Columbia College, Political Science + Music, Berkeley, CA.
Claim to fame: I did Orgo Night a couple of times, tried to get people to click on my Spec column this semester, performed at a few Jester events, left this highly successful Bwog comment four years ago that I still think about sometimes, and wrote/produced a lot of stuff for CUMB including a bunch of sketches, a song that got us in trouble a long time ago, and our pornographic art film.
Where are you going? I’m giving comedy a shot wherever people let me do it.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?
1. Pure sarcasm is the laziest form of comedy and if you abuse it, nobody recognizes when you’re being sincere. I’m trying to replace sarcasm with cleverness in myself; the Class of 2019 can get a head start on that maybe.
2. Any time you’re doing something that doesn’t require much thinking, like folding laundry or riding the subway or eating handfuls of jelly beans sprawled out on your bed, put on a podcast or an audiobook that will teach you something or make you a better writer or improve you in any way.
3. Take the stairs two at a time. Not figuratively. It’s just a faster way to climb stairs.
“Back in my day…” I think before finishing a thought like “Back in my day…” you should ask yourself whether the world really was different, whether you changed around it, and how much the lens of memory distorts the truth of the past. Some things I remember being better, but maybe it’s because they were new to me. Other things I remember being worse, but maybe it’s because I was mildly depressed for parts of my freshman year. So in the end you gotta go with something objectively true, something you know for certain was different.
Back in my day I thought the vagina was way higher up than it actually is.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I haven’t earned my existence yet. If I died today, people would speak mainly of my potential. And maybe my reckless stair-climbing depending how it happened.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? Contemporary Chinese Politics with Xiaobo Lu. I remember it fondly because it was a reprieve from all the Core junk I was studying at the time, and it allowed me to title a paper “Mao Money, Mao Problems” (a pun I was extremely proud of, and returns over five million results in Google).
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? If only you’d asked me earlier. Either option would have prevented my lifetime ban from Simply Fondue.
One thing to do before graduating: Thank Woodbridge guards Stanley, Carlos, and Addy, music department folks Gabriela, Johanna, and Anne, the JJ’s Place staff, Dodge Raj, and Columbia Dining in general, Jazz gods Ben Waltzer, Bruce Barth and Andy Milne, Dr. Zebrowski, Tyler Benedict, Evvie Jagoda, and my mom and dad.
Any regrets? I regret not joining more campus comedy outlets because there’s a lot of funny, talented people here who I haven’t met. Fruit Paunch or VShow people for instance, who are incredible. I wish I’d spent more time with my freshman floor friends in sophomore year and beyond. And I regret that Ollie’s didn’t blow up sooner.