Julia Goodman [Bwog]Here’s to wisdom, previous Bwog EICs, and institutional memory! We bring to you today Julia Goodman, subway-rider, Dam frequenter, and punchcard queen. She has lots to spill on imposter syndrome and support systems.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Julia Goodman, CC, English and Creative Writing, Los Angeles

Claim to fame: I was editor-in-chief of Bwog for the fall of 2014, during which time I defended student protest and became a regular at International.

Where are you going? I’m staying in New York to work, write, and ride the subway.

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

1) If you’re like most people at this school, there will be many times where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t belong here, and everybody else knows something you don’t. It took me way too long to figure this out, but most people don’t have any more of a clue what they’re doing than you do. Your four years here will be one of few times when it’s completely okay, if not preferable, to live in uncertainty. If I had stuck to the plan I had when I arrived at Columbia, I would never have joined Bwog, met most of my close friends, or majored in creative writing. Not knowing exactly what you’re doing will leave you open to opportunities you never thought you would have pursued.

2) Find a support system that works for you. Columbia can be an incredibly stressful place, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to make it here without all of the friends and mentors I had. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors for advice, go to CPS, form a study group with people in one of your lecture classes, etc. Don’t be afraid to branch out and make new friends if the people you spend time with aren’t making you happy. And when you can, be the person who makes life here a little bit less stressful for someone else.

3) Even though it’s a nightmarish ordeal, you should really just say hi to people you know when you see them on campus.

“Back in my day…” Instead of a bar named after Hamilton, we had a glorious establishment called The ‘dam. She will be missed.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. I have filled five punchcards at the graduate student cafe in Philosophy even though I technically don’t have swipe access.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? I have too many favorite classes to choose from, but three that I’ve really enjoyed are Race, Poverty, and American Criminal Justice with Cathleen Price, Postmodern Poetry with Michael Golston, and The Modern Arts Writer with Margo Jefferson.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I suppose it’s only fair that after years of asking others this question, I finally have to respond to it. All I can say is that a Hamdel grilled cheese has saved my life on more than one occasion.

One thing to do before graduating: Work at an off-campus job or internship, and make it a habit to spend some weekend time away from campus. There are so many amazing things happening in New York, and getting off campus is always a good reminder that the world continues separately from what happens in our small Columbia bubble.

Any regrets? I made plenty of mistakes during my time here, but I don’t regret most of them–they led me to be the person I am now, surrounded by the friends I have. I’ll take my imperfect Columbia experience over the perfect one I might have had.

Punchcard Queen via Julia Goodman