We’re continuing our series of fall Senior Wisdoms with Jacqueline Basulto, well-known for her work with Alpha Chi Omega and on the NSOP committee. Her advice ranges from getting involved to making friends outside the Columbia bubble.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Jacqueline Basulto, Columbia College, Political Science, Staten Island, NY

Claim to fame: 2016 Alpha Chi Omega President, 2015 NSOP Coordinator, 2015 Christmas Tree Lighting Soloist

Where are you going? I’m staying in NYC and starting a tech company that is focusing on making cool shit that should exist already. We’re launching GeoPlay, a mobile app, in January. Join the team and become a beta tester.

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

1. Figuring out and then coming to terms with who you are, the kind of people you want to surround yourself with, and what goals really matter to you is the most difficult journey of college, but it is the most worthwhile and rewarding.

2. People are people; do not be afraid to reach out to or befriend other students, members of the faculty and staff, or individuals outside of the Columbia bubble who inspire you. If you are genuinely interested in talking to someone and/or learning from them, the worst you can do is try to garner some of their time. It is flattering, no matter where you are in life, to know that you can give back to other people. So, I would encourage you all to reach out to professors and administrators you admire, CEOs, authors of books, and artists you think would never give you the time of day, and stop and say hi to classmates you want to know better. I have learned as much or more from my friends and classmates, administrators like Dean Valentini and Dean Kromm and Josh, Yvonne, and Aaron in Student Life, the lovely dining hall staff members who make me feel welcome every day at Ferris, and the public safety members who never neglect to smile at me and encourage me to keep working hard, as I have during actual school time.

3. Even when you feel like you’re sinking, you can always count on yourself and the people around you to help you swim. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Columbia is a stressful environment, and there is still much to be desired in terms of services like CPS and other support resources on campus. However, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness of my classmates in difficult times, fun times, and stressful times. So no matter how busy you and everyone else is, remember that everyone is stressed out, no one has everything together, and everyone has a few minutes to take care of their friends. On the more literal side, I am a really bad swimmer, and the woman who gave me my swim test was very patient with me. I was convinced I would actually drown at Columbia, so thank you to her!

“Back in my day…” Bacchanal did not have cages, you could petition to have courses work for global core, the John Jay bagel line didn’t exist and then it had real lox, Bernheim and Schwartz was Havana Central, Sweet Green was a weird deli, and Cafe East was drab.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I am a graduate of the “Fame School,” otherwise known as LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in NYC.

What was your favorite class at Columbia?  Freedom of Speech and Press – Prez Bo is full of knowledge, especially if you have any interest in law; Acting Avant Garde (Sharon Fogarty) and Acting the Musical (Mana Allen) – Barnard’s theater faculty is wonderfully talented and pushed me out of my comfort zone; Principles of Econ (classic), and Lit Hum, of course.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Well, I am lactose intolerant. ;)

One thing to do before graduating: Get really involved in something you are passionate about on campus or in the greater NYC community. Everyone has something positive that they can contribute during their time here.

Any regrets? Thinking I had to be pre-med for a semester, but isn’t that just a rite of passage?

Photo via Jacqueline Basulto