Meet Mark! He’s a CUMB-y who’s worked at the UN and flown all over the world. You wish you were as cool as him.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Mark Jamias, CC/SIPA, Political Science/Economic and Political Development, Suffolk, Virginia (real Virginia)
Claim to fame: Worked for an airline for three years, and developed a bad habit of flying away from my problems. Went to work at the United Nations for two semesters where I spent my time looking at flags, running late to meetings, and embarrassing my British colleagues by pointing out that their UN flag was upside-down. Around campus I babysit high-school and university students for CIRCA’s Model UN conferences, and pole dance, in a wholesome, traditional Filipino sense (tinikling), with the Liga Filipina. Last, I’m a Bandie who makes noise around campus, at other Ivies, and at Penn.
Where are you going? Nowhere apparently. I’m stuck in IAB s.o.s. please someone help me finishing my Master of International Affairs degree at SIPA.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?
1) People matter, first and foremost. Students here are talented, smart, engaging, yada yada, but they’re often too busy and stressed out. An hour of hanging out with friends instead of studying will not result in irrevocable academic doom. And let’s be honest: What are deadlines lol? People here can teach you lessons that are just as important as the ones you’ll learn in class. Take time to appreciate your close friends for dealing with your shit and helping you grow as a person. Support each other’s amazing pursuits, and be there for each other when needed.
2) Step out of your comfort zone, whatever that may mean for you. Whether it’s something like taking a hip-hop dance class, auditioning for an a capella group with a screaming rendition of “Mr. Brightside,” or taking a class outside your major, do it without the fear of failure (read: P/D/F things). It helps you take yourself less seriously and could make for a fun story. Also, meet someone with whom you don’t agree, and have a conversation with them. It’s boring and dangerous to let your viewpoints go unchallenged. Besides, we need more dialoguing if there’s any hope for us to solve future problems.
3) Pay it back by paying it forward. We’re all incredibly lucky and privileged to be at a place like this, and I’m confident that each person here required the help of someone else to get to where they are today. Never forget those people who helped you, and make an effort to help others achieve their own goals and aspirations. Also, if able, spot the guy at Hamdel who left his wallet in Wien, or give the person asking for food outside of MoWi or Appletree some fruit you took from the dining hall. In short, don’t be a dick, and help people when you can.
“Back in my day…” Miss Wilma made omelettes in John Jay, we threw paint parties in Carman, and a base fare on the MTA was $2.50. Ferris had one staircase, Barnard had a pool, and Butler 209 had a band.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. I used to say, “Date me, fly free,” but nothing gold can stay. Now, I run races for the shiny participation medal you get when you finish.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? Comprehensive Beginning Catalan with Elsa Ubeda. The passion and enthusiasm Elsa brings to this course is incredible, and the few students who study this language come from all walks of life but share the same passion for exploring a unique culture that builds human towers, replaces Santa Claus with a Christmas log that poops presents, and maintains a fierce, independent spirit. Before our final, all of us hid on the roof of the Casa Hispanica, and afterwards, we went out for bottomless quesadillas and margs at Amigos. Despite what people say, Catalan is an incredibly useful language. I used it frequently at both my jobs, and speaking it got me a free drink at 1020.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Well you can’t get in trouble for eating cheese in an airport bathroom stall. Therefore, I’d give up the former.
One thing to do before graduating: Thank the people who made an indelible mark on you during your four years here. Countless people work tirelessly every day to make your Columbia experience the best it possibly can be. Write a card for the Dining chef who always satisfies your omelette fix, or for the Public Safety guard who consistently welcomes you home after a night of studying. Grab coffee with professors, especially with the ones you haven’t seen in forever. They’ll likely be just as eager to see you, and they might even buy you the coffee.
Any regrets? Yeah. I wish I developed better email habits. I don’t delete my emails, and I feel like a horrible person for not doing so.
Photo via Mark Jamias