Name, School, Major, Hometown: Koli (no one on this campus remembers my name is actually Fatima), Barnard College, Computer Science and Urban Development with a self-declared minor in Race and Performance, from Queens, NY
Claim to fame: President of the Muslim Students Association, Co-Chair of the Muslim Protagonist, basically the girl who does all the muslim things on campus. also Phi Beta Kappa.
Where are you going? Ideally? All over the world.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?
1) Become okay with being uncomfortable. So much of what you think you know will be challenged and you can either use those opportunities to stay stubborn or you can use them to grow as a person. This doesn’t mean giving up your beliefs, it does mean being willing to listen.
2) Everyone raves about their extracurriculars and while I might too, know that it will be a love-hate relationship. And sometimes, it’s better to drop that ish than to keep at it or at least take a step back when you need to. Sure, we’re all doing important things, but the world will not end if you do that.
3) Don’t feel like you have to hide parts of yourself to feel accepted. There are so many people around you who will love you for who you are. It might take some time finding those people, but it will happen. And if you’ve spent too much time being an alternate version of yourself, it’ll be really hard to undo that once you do find the right group of friends, so might as well just be yourself and let it happen naturally.
And one more: since it’s so important, make friend targets: people you want to become friends with. And actually make an effort to make that happen. You’ll be surprised at what comes out of it.
“Back in my day…” 1. Clubs could hang banners in front of Barnard (#thanksDeBOREah) 2. Chaplain Davis was only a closeted Islamophobe rather than a known one (yikes) and 3. Midnight Breakfast was actually fun
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. I make men and yt ppl uncomfortable with my spoken word. Also, my fashion game is on point for someone who only wears skirts and dresses (shameless plug: @koliflower6 for those #ootds)
What was your favorite class at Columbia? Bombay/Mumbai and its Urban Imaginaries with Professor Anupama Rao. She is adorable and also the absolute best!! I texted her a picture of me and two other students of hers and she said we looked too happy for kids who are dying with finals. smh anu, just let us be happy.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? If I answer this question, the haram police will come calling so…………….
One thing to do before graduating: Make cards for people who helped me in my time here and affected it without even realizing.
Any regrets? Not getting to know my professors more. Thinking I was behind everyone in CS because I started the major late and didn’t have the same internships under my belt. Not being as sarcastic as I would have liked because I was worried about people getting butt-hurt and taking me too seriously. Letting MSA take over my life. Always wondering if people were judging me for being “too Muslim”.