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Senior Wisdom: John Hao

What a professional photo.

In the last of today’s Senior Wisdoms, meet John Hao: a Buzzfeed celebrity.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: John Hao, Columbia College, Environmental Biology, Lincoln, Nebraska

Claim to fame: For one thing, I’m one of the few Nebraskans here. But for real, when I was president of the Columbia Vegan Society, I convinced Dining to install the vegan food station at John Jay. I’ve been called Columbia’s best botanist, origami artist, and Halloween costumer. I also created a catalogue of every single plant on Columbia/Barnard campus.

Where are you going? I’m interning at the New York Botanical Garden and plan to explore other research opportunities before I pursue a PhD.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2022?

1. Fit in time between classwork to pursue your own interests. Sometimes, homework takes a backseat to a hobby and that’s okay. These times let you find your passions, work out your stress, and be productive in something that fulfills you.

2. Don’t miss out on classes that can offer you amazing experiences and you might find a strong interest in something you never considered before. I almost dropped a class that required weekly Friday morning field trips because it sounded like too much work. Had I done that, I would’ve missed out on incredible hikes in different forests in the Northeast, which ended up shaping my future plans.

3. When you come from a small town to Columbia, you learn quickly how important finding a community is. It can be intimidating to connect with new people when they all seem to know each other already. When you get past that fear, you’ll find how welcoming people are and how much easier it becomes when you get out of your comfort zone to try new things, new clubs, or new ventures.

“Back in my day…” JJs did not have a good veggie burger.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: My series of Snapchat drawings of my cat made it into its own Buzzfeed article, courtesy of Alangoya Tezel.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Field Botany and Systematics with Professor Matt Palmer

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Since I’m vegan, I already don’t eat cheese.

Whom would you like to thank? I’d like to thank the friends I’ve had since freshmen year who led a naive country boy through the trials of city life. I’d like to thank my brother and his invaluable college wisdom that taught me how to make these years matter. I’d like to thank my parents who have supported me endlessly and push me to pursue excellence wherever the future takes me.

One thing to do before graduating: Ride the lion statue.

Any regrets? Had I known earlier what path I’d be on now, I wish I would’ve spent less time in pursuit of a different one.


Image via John Hao 

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