Hannah CohenIn our next Senior Wisdom, Hannah Cohen discusses being named after a Hebrew alcoholic and why becoming dependent on substances is not a great thing. Plus some stuff about finding yourself, true self knowledge, and just plain out connecting with other members of the Columbia community.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Hannah Jane Cohen, CC, Earth Science and Film Studies, Central Perk.

Claim to fame:

  • Most tattooed member of CC.
  • The person who abruptly disappeared junior year and never came back.
  • A ton of people (including professors) think I dropped out—I didn’t? Surprise
  • (Former) COÖP leader—sorry for dropping out, guys.
  • Incredibly antisocial new member of the class of 2016. Most of you probably have no idea who I am. In that case, hi. Check me out at hannahjanecohen.com

Where are you going? Iceland! I’m moving to Iceland to follow my dream of stalking Björk.

No, that’s a joke. Actually, I am going to stalk this guy.

But yeah, I’m moving to Iceland. I’m really excited. I enjoy that place a lot more than Columbia or the other places I’ve lived, (America, New Zealand, Brazil…) Come visit!!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

  1. Take Time Off (If You Need It): Taking time off was the best decision of my life. My first years at Columbia I was so lost. I didn’t know who I was at all. I felt so pressured by all the other amazing students here to act a certain way, dress a certain way, do certain extracurriculars, think a certain way… Yeah. But it wasn’t me. In fact I was incredibly depressed and stressed out. I needed to do something, to live independently, to support myself outside so I moved around, across the world, traveled (supported myself, I don’t have a trust fund…), did a ton of awesome stuff, made a lot of cool friends, fell in love, fell out of love, the whole Eat, Pray, Love shebang. If anyone is interested in taking time off and is looking for ideas, shoot me an email at hnnh.cohen@gmail.com I consider myself to be a time-off consultant. (Take that McKinsey.)
  2. Mental Health Problems Are Real (And Solvable): Columbia is an incredibly stressful place and this can cause some weird mental effects in even the most “together” student. You’ve got to learn to deal or else you will be miserable here. I did not deal with my stress healthily during my first few years here, but with age I’ve learned that it’s important to be happy. Your happiness is all you have really, so exercise, find hobbies outside of school, watch The In-Betweeners copiously, go to concerts, go dancing A LOT, listen to the new Justin Bieber album, be Serena, not Blair. The seeds you sow today will be your garden tomorrow. Plant with care.
  3. Professors Are Dope: Literally (or perhaps figuratively), I didn’t realize until my senior year how cool most Professors are. I just went to a dinner with all my Earth Science professors and they were so funny and amazing—I wish I had gotten to know many of them sooner! Every personal interaction with Professors I’ve had has been great and I should have taken more advantage of that. Film professors are the best too. Talk to your Professors all the time. You’ll find out some crazy stuff—for example, I found out my super famous film professor had never seen Mean Girls.

I’m a rebel, so here’s some more.

  1. Substances Aren’t That Cool: Getting drunk/smoking weed is not a hobby. Please don’t devote your life to that. People who smoke weed just sit and think a lot. Think deeply you know. That’s fun sometimes but seriously all they do is sit and think about deep stuff. You want to do more than that. People who are drunk make stupid and regrettable decisions. Seriously don’t get drunk every night ‘cause that is super lame. Also, doing Adderall doesn’t make you a real student and drugs/alcohol don’t make you an “artist.” I saw so many people lose themselves to substances over the years and it just isn’t that cool, especially when you aren’t 18 anymore. Find other hobbies.
  2. You Can Do Your Thesis On Porn: Yea, I did my film thesis on porn. I got Columbia to pay for porn. Goals.

“Back in my day…” Bacchanal was fun. Sexual assault was an issue no one talked about. I wore a lot of J Crew. I wasn’t constantly asked if I was in GS.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. I am named after a part in the Torah where they literally say, “Are you drunk in the temple again Hannah?” I try to live by this philosophy every day.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? The Colloquium on Middle Eastern Texts. No doubt. In the most white-girl-from-New-York way, reading the Gita changed my life. Actually, my first tattoo was a portion of the Gita. “He who sees me everywhere and sees everything in me will never be lost to me and I will never be lost to him.” It’s a beautiful book and everyone should read it.

Other shout-outs include the Geology Excursion to Death Valley, The Colloquium on East Asian texts, LIT HUM

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Cheese. This is a stupid question.

One thing to do before graduating: Cry on the subway. Seriously, I do it all the time. It’s so cathartic.

Any regrets? No ragrets man.

No, I’m lying. I regret being so closed-off and antisocial here. I was really involved in Hannah-land for most of my time at Columbia—obsessed with school, my novel (just wait guys), Mae West, black metal, traveling, I don’t know.

I was so convinced that everyone here was so much better than me—imposter syndrome is real guys—but I’ve later learned that many were just as insecure as I was. So no matter how self-assured your freshman year roommate was, they were just as nervous as you, I promise.

I also regret never becoming closer with my fellow film students. You guys are all so cool. I loved discussion sections and wish I had been more forward about becoming friends with y’all.

Other regrets? I never went to homecoming, only went to one Bacchanal, missed 40s on 40s, and don’t plan on going to the Senior dinner. I also never went to Senior night as a senior… I don’t know. I never wanted a super “Ra Ra!” college experience but maybe it would have been nice to be a little more involved. If anyone wants to check out Senior night with me next week, I might show up.

“Are you drunk in the temple again Hannah?” via Hannah Cohen