USenator, Loyal Friend, and feckless comment-reader Marc Heinrich wants to endow you procrastinators with some wisdom. He talks work-life balance, leadership, and asbestos, among other topics. Check out our other wisdoms for more ruminations.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Marc Heinrich, Columbia College, Political Science & History, New York, NY
Claim to fame: University Senator, AEPi Brother, semester-long EIC of the Undergraduate Law Review, Proud Bacardi Enthusiast, Sofia Vergara fan (I once woke up at 5:30 am to see her)
Where are you going? Moving to Washington D.C. and going into consulting (I know, shocking coming from Columbia).
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?
1. Be a Good and Loyal Friend. I really can’t stress this one enough, and I always try to remember this as I interact with people. If someone you’re close to needs help, you should drop everything to do so. Your paper can wait and you can come back early from whatever bar you’re at (hopefully not 1020), but being there for the people you care about is really the most important personality trait someone can have. It’s also what separates a regular friendship from one who will truly mean a lot to you past Columbia. The only times I’ve ever stayed up past 5am at Columbia have been to help friends with issues they were having and I’ve never once regretted it.
2. You can (and should) take what you do seriously– just don’t take yourself seriously for doing it. I think this piece of advice is particularly relevant for people who are interested in Senate, Student Council, or some leadership position (which is likely most of Columbia). It’s admirable to take what you do seriously – a lot of people are able to impact students’ lives on this campus through their hard work – but make sure it doesn’t get to your head. At the end of the day, no matter how “important” you feel as a result of anything at Columbia, it’s irrelevant once you get to the real world. This doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of what you’ve done, but just try to keep everything in perspective.
And one note about credit: while credit is nice when it’s given, you just have to be confident that you’re making a difference, and leave it at that.
3. Balance Work and Fun. People at Columbia need to make sure they actually have fun. While the administration certainly is partly to blame for the “War on Fun,” (wouldn’t a fall Bacchanal have been great) I think we also deserve part of the blame for creating a culture where people feel the need to stay in the library the entire weekend in order to succeed. However, one of the amazing things about Columbia is the people you’ll meet and the memories you’ll have with them, even if that sounds incredibly corny. I’m not suggesting you not take your academics seriously – of course your courses matter – but seeing your friends over the weekend will still allow you to do well, and I truly believe I’ve learned just as much from interacting with different people and learning about their backgrounds as I have from many of my classes.
Oh, and one last side note: please don’t be the person who posts every day in your class group. It’s just weird.
“Back in my day…” Bacchanal was a concert open to all students and McBain actually looked like it had as much asbestos as it still has.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. The first time I met with President Bollinger, my pants ripped completely and I spent the meeting trying to cover it up. I’m still not sure if he saw.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? Whenever I think about which my “favorite class” was at Columbia, I normally think about the ones that have actually impacted the way I think even though they often are some of the hardest I have taken. I can’t really pick a single one, but my favorites include History of the South with Professor Barbara Fields, American Urban Politics with Professor Vargas-Ramos, and Freedom of Speech & Press with President Bollinger.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ve been involved in politics and I think real politicians have shown that giving up oral sex is awfully unrealistic.
One thing to do before graduating: Get on the roof of Low, go in the tunnels… I hope that Public Safety doesn’t read these.
Any regrets? I’ve never really been one to regret – I don’t think it’s particularly healthy and genuinely think that if you take a forward-looking outlook, things mostly work out. However, I do regret ever reading the comment sections (even if I still always do).
Is that for Sofia? via Marc Heinrich