Name, School, Major, Hometown: Shezza Abboushi Dallal, Barnard College, History, Beirut, Lebanon
Claim to fame: You might know me as the benevolent dictator of the non-hierarchical, democratic students’ organization Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine. What you might not know is that a banner of my Facebook profile picture was taken down from the entrance of Barnard Hall in March of 2014 (☹) and D Spar and I had a dance-off at “Race, Violence Resistance: from Gaza to Ferguson” the following fall.
Where are you going? Not entirely sure. Maybe I should just pursue another unpaid internship. At the moment, I’m waiting to hear back from a series of organizations, but I will likely have to pay my rent in monopoly money and feed off the courage of my convictions. Or, PLOT TWIST: Bank of J.P. Morgan Stanley and Chase recruits me last minute to coordinate their annual one-day charity excursion.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?
1) Making the active decision to not take yourself so seriously can be a game changer. Maintain a healthy sense of perspective, speak in simpler language, resist the urge to name-drop, learn how to laugh at yourself.
2) Columbia’s activists are not sucking all the fun out of your college experience. They are not entitled. They are not sticking it to the man just for the sake of it. You cannot truly believe in an institution and in the potential of its constituents without a wholehearted willingness to challenge it, hold it accountable, and improve it. It is courageous to uphold political and moral principles in the face of widespread apathy. It is courageous to put your own academic, professional, and personal status on the line for those ideals. It is courageous to speak up and speak up loudly. It is courageous to admit ignorance and embrace growth. Don’t be dismissive. Engage.
3) There is no better bathroom than the one on the left side of the second floor of Barnard Hall.
“Back in my day…” Barnard’s alma mater wasn’t the sounds of Lehman Hall being demolished, I (and every other Barnard student) could spend Friday evenings scarfing down JJ’s burgers, and Bacchanal wasn’t a caged playpen.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. If I could limit myself to 30 words or fewer then I would have already become Twitter-famous, now wouldn’t I?
What was your favorite class at Columbia? It’s a tie between my first-year seminar, Reacting to the Past and Professor Samuel Moyn’s Historical Origins of Human Rights. Reacting to the Past involves a lot of yelling at people, fake murders, and roleplay, so I got to earn academic credit doing all the things I love doing outside of the classroom. As for Historical Origins of Human Rights, Professor Moyn introduced the revolutionary Che Guevara with a blown up projection of his baby wearing a Che onesie and from that moment on I was smitten.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Here is a list of invaluable Columbia experiences you could never have if you gave up cheese: Getting yelled at by a University Senator for loudly eating a Milano’s H17 in Butler 209. Making a polka dot pattern on your cute going out dress with the oil from your Koronet pizza. Leaving a trail of Nacho Cheese Doritos between your classrooms for yourself on the Sunday before the first day of classes. Testing whether or not you can live off nothing but Hamdel sandwiches for a full week and SUCCEEDING. Sprinkling Cheeto dust onto your bound thesis so that Barnard can not only archive your written work but also your writing process. Need I continue? This should not be a question. Please get rid of it.
One thing to do before graduating: Commit to regularly entering a space that makes you uncomfortable, be it a challenging course in an unvisited discipline, a weekly club meeting that forces you out of your comfort zone, or a lunch date with a brand new friend. Discomfort breeds growth.
Edit, 9:55pm: Shezza’s full name is Shezza Abboushi Dallal, not Shezza Dallal.
Does her future hold Twitter fame? via Shezza Abboushi Dallal