PHE leader. Comedian. And so much more. We’re kicking off today’s Senior Wisdoms with self-proclaimed Beat master Julien Reiman.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Julien Saint Reiman, Columbia College, History, Atlanta, GA
Claim to fame: Hosted a Spiritual Cleansing of Butler Library, a recreation of the 1967 Central Park Be-In, a Beat Generation Tour of Columbia, an Ice Cream Tour of New York City, and other events that you wish you went to.
Where are you going? I’m teaching English for a year at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, then going to graduate school for a degree in History.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2022?
1. Find the Money: A lot of cash in this wealthy university is available to you if you know where to look. The Office of Undergraduate Life and Columbia/Barnard Hillel gave me $500 to host a party in Central Park because it cultivated community. The CU History Department gave me $2,500 to live in NYC during the summer and travel to England, mostly because I paid attention to their listserv. And as a member of the Philolexian Society—a student group that anyone can join—I made $5,500 in a speech competition. Talk to administrators, join clubs, and read emails: in addition to helping you find your niche at CU, they might lead you to riches.
2. Find a Psychologist: Call your health insurance provider and find a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist in your network. Then set up an appointment with them. Every week. All students at Columbia need (and deserve) consistent mental health support. I’m a generally happy guy, but weekly sessions with my psychiatrist have allowed me to vent about campus stressors, navigate my parents’ divorce, and explore how my early life made me who I am. My psychiatrist has provided mental tools and pharmaceutical supplements to get out of ruts of mania, depression, and insomnia. Best of all, he helped me navigate the Columbia Office of Disability Services to gain high priority on Columbia Housing’s list of room transfers so that I could get a good night’s rest. Make psychological treatment a weekly or biweekly cornerstone of your college experience.
3. Be Nice: I once opened the door for someone walking into Butler, and they said “thank you for being a normal person.” Make kindness normal. Complement people for no reason, hug (consensually) as many friends as you can, and say “bless you” if someone sneezes in the library. It’s not only the best way to combat Columbia’s empathy problem; it also makes you feel good. I felt fantastic knowing that I was a “normal person” that day. It might not cure depression, but it helps with stress of all kinds. Complement someone at your first college party. They’ll be surprised, then they’ll smile, then you’ll feel alright.
“Back in my day…” Butler 209 was where you could find New York’s finest Jews.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer? One time I accidentally called my babysitter “mom” and I have acted differently around women ever since.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? It’s a tie between the two first history classes I took here: US History 1940-1975 with Mark Carnes and Social History of American Public Health with James Colgrove.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Oral sex. There is nothing more sexual than the hot dark sweetness of a good Maytag blue.
Whom would you like to thank? My best pals who made transferring here worth it: Isabel, Aaron, Michelle, Alya, Dore, Aubri, Brenna, Jay, Leeza, Peter, Ilana, Kalila, Claire, Sophie, and Sophie And Officer Murray of the Hartley Security Desk.
One thing to do before graduating: To host a party on the roof of Butler Library, and to gain the approval of South Asian History Professor Manan Ahmed. Maybe at the same time.
Any regrets? It took me too long to realize that you can improve your mental health by caring for other people. I regret that when friends asked for my help in dealing with anxiety, I sometimes said no so that I could take care of myself. Self-care is important, but the times I least regret were when I stopped studying to listen to a friend.
Image from Julien Reiman