Kicking off this semester’s Senior Wisdom is Barnard’s very own University Senator Kira Dennis! Check out her advice on everything Barnumbia, from libraries to favorite classes to just having some fun.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Kira Dennis, Barnard College, History, Hollywood, Florida
Claim to fame: Probably the University Senate emails I send out. My friends love to screenshot them and send them to me as if I have never seen the emails before. I have also gone to 5 Broadway shows in the last two months and won the Broadway lottery four times this semester. My dad is also one of 13 siblings and I am the 20th of 48 grandchildren. People usually think that’s pretty cool.
Where are you going? Home to Florida to study for the LSAT. Long nights spent studying and endless stress– it’s like I’m barely leaving college!
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2022?
1. Prioritize sleep- the assignment will get done no matter what. I slept from 2 to 5 AM every night my freshman year and sleep from 1 AM to at least 8 AM nowadays–and my grades have not suffered at all. In a seemingly contradictory but similar vein, go out more. School is important, but socializing is important, too. This does not need to include drinking or partying- just spend time with friends exploring New York City. The amount of time we allot to assignments is usually the amount of time they will take us. Be productive while you’re working so you can spend the rest of your time enjoying your college experience.
2. Check in on your friends. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and immersed in your own school work and personal obligations, but sending a text asking someone how their test was, showing up to a friend’s birthday party, or asking them if they want to have lunch can really make a difference.
3. Make friends outside your immediate community. In joining Sigma Delta Tau, SGA, and the Senate, I have been able to meet and develop relationships with so many amazing people whom I would not have been able to meet without joining those communities. Some of these people have been the biggest part of my college experience (looking at you, Weitzmans) and will be my best friends forever.
4. One more because I’m feeling nostalgic– join one student group and become really involved in it. It’s impossible to make a huge impact or be completely devoted to so many groups, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Find a group whose mission you identify with and really devote yourself to it.
“Back in my day…” Barnard used the “nine ways of knowing” system and our library was Lehman, not Milstein or LeFrak. The tunnels also let you enter the quad, which made accessing the vending machines late at night super convenient. My late-night snacking has decreased significantly since then.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: One night I had a one too many glasses of wine but still remembered to set my alarm and email my professor to postpone my meeting. My friends claim it’s the most “me” thing ever.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? Probably US Foreign Relations with Paul Chamberlain or my four semesters of Spanish. I learned so much in both and the former really solidified my interest in being a United States 20th century history major.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Oral sex. I have survived off Hewitt pizza for the last 3.5 years.
One thing to do before graduating: Print out my thesis using my printing quota so my parents can finally read it.
On a more serious note, debrief with your friends about your college experience. My friends and I all had lunch last week and shared hilarious stories and memories we’ve made over the last four years. It sounds corny, but you’ll never live as close to all your friends as you do now. Living in the same building as my friends has been one of the highlights of my college career and probably the part I will miss the most.
Any regrets? Not sleeping enough Freshman and sophomore year. Nights are not meant to be spent in Butler. If you’re up all night consistently, it should be because you are having fun (although I don’t recommend that either. Moderation is key!)
Photo via Kira Dennis