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Senior Wisdom: Amara Banks

Today’s second senior wisdom comes from Amara Banks, bagel extraordinaire, 1020 personality, former Bwog EIC (for a whole year!), beautiful waffle, and the funniest, most precious gem of a person. As she leaves this campus behind onto greater things, we all mourn her absence.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Amara, Barnard, Philosophy, Hometown Buffet. And, because you asked, pronouns: she/hers;    zodiac: Virgo    shoe size: nine;    milk preference: oat when possible, otherwise almond,     karaoke song: Crazy In Love by Beyoncé ft. [redacted] ,    airline safety video of choice: Virgin America,     fresh parmesan on top?: yes.

Claim to fame:  Girl who brought her Keurig to Ref after  🅱️lue Java closed/ portable space heater to 209 after the heater closed/ candles to 310 after the cozy closed. Also EIC of Bwog (when the site looked ugly); populated (but did not invent) those famous Spec stickers; more-or-less decided who got one of these “senior” “wisdoms.” But hopefully they’ll remember me as the smooth sound spinner during my ultra suave 2pm WBAR slot that I “never” slept through.

Where are you Going?: So many dreams…. world-class hibachi chef, dolphin A&R exec, heir to Alex Trebek, Tim Apple, etc. For now, to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco, and wild out.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2023?: 

  1. Your liberal arts education is for you to explore subjects that genuinely interest you, not train you for employment. Make sure you’re studying the thing that you would want to pull an all-nighter working on, regardless of whether you’re being graded or not. For me, this happened to be existence. For Betsy, it was trees. For Finn & Youngweon, it was Sappho. Your majors pick you, dude.
  2. Be mindful of how you spend (and waste) your time. The three hours you spent procrastinating on Reddit and silently passing gas in Ref is time you could’ve spent beating your face at Sephora, hollering in the Milstein lobby, or losing all of your EC furniture in a poker game. Either go all in and actually do your work, or go all out and actually live your life.
  3. Stay woke… I spent four years feeling like Snow White every time I exited Butler, greeting those tweeting birds I could hear but not see. I felt like an IDIOT last week when Anderson told me the bird noises were fake… a mere extension of Prezbo’s weather machine. There I was, Snow Brown, thinking birds didn’t migrate, professors didn’t give extensions, and public safety didn’t have a race problem. The sooner you know, the better your experience will be. GM sis!!
  4. Blue Java has punch cards. Don’t drink that tree bark coffee without being rewarded every time you finish 10 cups.

*(something I learned in high school but has guided me through life since: most doors that say “emergency exit alarm will sound” actually don’t have alarms & make for much more convenient exits. ) 

“Back in My Day…”: You couldn’t use a credit card at Toms :( .  My freshman year I went to Toms at 11pm (alone) and didn’t have cash. Found out that Chase was down until 8am which meant I coudn’t use an ATM until then, so I sat in a booth and waited 9 hours (basically spent the night) until I could pull out a $20.
Other tbts—John Jay had 8oz coffee cups while Ferris had 12oz cups; not even Columbia students knew where Harmony hall was, Res life would nut up and look you IN THE EYES when assigning you a shafted suite (now everything is ~in the cloud~); I didn’t fill my eyebrows, then I filled them too much. I do miss getting screamed at by the workers of Vine Sushi.

Favorite Columbia controversy? So tough. Was it when SGA spent $2000 on Patagonias and told no one? When PrezBen (2016 CCSC President) didn’t know the difference between a pad and a tampon? When Columbia herself recommended we spend 66.5 hours per week on class/homework, and two on “hygiene?” The petition for 3-ply toilet paper? Maybe it’s the time a girl went on Buy Sell Trade to slander her classmate-turned-plant-sitter after she killed her succulent.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Honestly I’m just grateful this ultimatum has nothing to do with chicken fingers… you can take both.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I think (a lot about Beyonce’s thighs) → I am.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? It was definitely Jazz with Chris Washbourne. This was the first (but not the only!) class I took at Columbia in which my professor genuinely encouraged his students to really learn and enjoy the material, rather than focusing on securing the highest course grade by any means necessary. It meant that instead of burning through Quizlets the night before an exam, he pushed us to learn about the musicians and movements we cared about. Once you figure out what excites you, the will to absorb all of the material follows naturally. That’s how the course felt to me, anyway.
Also I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night without including an ode to my Senior Seminar & Queen professor Karen Lewis. There could not have been a better way to end my philosophy degree than with this course. Six bright majors with a brilliant, humbled, and kind leader who brought us Starbucks every week. This class is what the tour guides are describing when they talk about how great Barnard courses are.

Whom would you like to thank? 
– My mom!!!!!!! Don’t make me cry in the club right now. This woman has stanned every one of my aspirations, from future President to future dog breeder (both my fifth grade dreams).
– The Diana sushi chef… I don’t know your name but I have always quietly admired you from afar, and think of you often (every day, around lunch).
– The registrar, for putting at least one of my classes on Hamilton 6/7 every single semester. I thought she was trying to end me once and for all (every time I climb those stairs, it really feels like the last steps I’ll ever take), but then I realized she was just trying to keep my waist snatched. Thank you Queen.
– Beyonce, for everything.
– Barnard Res Life, for nothing.

One thing to do before graduating:  Stick your face under a hand dryer in Kent ☺

Any regrets? I have two. The first is dropping Varzi’s class solely because it met in Mudd (honestly this is a half-regret. That building is truly awful). The second is not discovering the Uris Deli sooner :( I wrote it off because it had a C health rating at some point (and a rat rumor), but it really slaps.

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8 Comments

  • Youngweon Lee says:

    @Youngweon Lee AMARA IM CRYING

  • betsy says:

    @betsy amara!!!!!!! im so grateful that bwog brought us together. you are absolutely brilliant & hilarious & SUCH an incredible leader, I learned so much from you every day when we were on e-board together. thank you for gracing me/bwog/columbia with your wisdom for four years.

  • veg says:

    @veg LOVED this. thanks for being my little and congrats to you for GETTING OUTTA HERE <3

  • Finn Klauber says:

    @Finn Klauber remember that time you ordered vine to Lerner during a bwog meeting? good times. I’ll miss being on the dream team board.

  • Zack Abrams says:

    @Zack Abrams claim to fame: wrote an entire paper about streetlights by kanye west which has an intro and 1 (one) verse that repeats twice. her mind, y’all. gonna miss you :(

  • Idris O'Neill says:

    @Idris O'Neill amara, i am obsessed with you! the sole reason i even kept coming to bwog meetings and then u left us (rightfully) for spain <3 i aspire to do the same

  • Mary says:

    @Mary Amara you are the queen of 1206

  • Pedro says:

    @Pedro Amara knows what she is talking about. Excellent wisdom

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