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Senior Wisdom: Mackinley Wang-Xu

Lactose-intolerant Mackinley is heading to Boston to get is Masters of Architecture degree at MIT next year…that is if classes aren’t online. Best of luck!

Name, School, Major, Hometown:
Mackinley Wang-Xu, SEAS Civil Engineering, Verona, NJ/ Hangzhou, China

Claim to fame:
During my freshman year, some of my work from architecture studios made it to the department Instagram and promotional materials. Definitely peaked WAYYY too early.

Where are you going?
Will be heading to Boston to start my Masters of Architecture degree at MIT!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2024?

  1. Reach out! Whether it’s a TA, professor, or peer, I have learned that simply starting a conversation can lead to really awesome things! One of the best ways of doing that is being involved in student groups and the academic department to find a group of people where you can share your passions and interests. With that in mind, making the effort to meet people who you’d normally not meet can be amazing. The Columbia community is so diverse and people have so many stories to tell that there is something to learn from each and every person.
  2. I don’t know who needs to hear this but overcome that academic FOMO. The allure of taking every class and learning about everything might be irresistible, but giving yourself enough time to pursue something you are deeply interested in is definitely much more productive. Having that minor or concentration on your diploma is much less valuable in the long run than pursuing a personal project that is meaningful.
  3. Do a full sprint from your dorm to your pset drop-off box and time yourself so you know how much time to budget when grinding those psets. Exercise to not only stay healthy but more importantly to optimize dorm to pset box sprint times.

“Back in my day…”
JJs wasn’t 24/7 and we always had to rush in the last minute to get food.

Favorite Columbia controversy?
EC shaft boi fo sho.

What was your favorite class at Columbia?
I have a few, Art of Structural Design with Professor Deodatis, Modern Japanese Architecture with Professor Reynolds, Project Management for Construction with Professor Chang, and Experimental Mechanics of Materials with Professor Kawashima are all courses taught be some really awesome faculty.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
I splurge on lactase pills, so….

Whom would you like to thank?
So many, first of all, I would not have the privilege of attending and graduating from Columbia without my parents and family who have supported me unconditionally throughout the years. Secondly, my gratitude goes to the professors and mentors who helped me grow as an aspiring architect and inspired me to actually pursue my goals and dreams. Most importantly my friends, notably my suitemates and my family at TKTNK, have been the most inspiring people who I have ever met in my life and have definitely made the grind worth it!

One thing to do before graduating:
If Prestige can take my graduation photo that would be nice ☹

Any regrets?
I was always in the “if-I-think-long-and-hard-about-this-it-will-work-out” mindset. I definitely regret not attending more office hours to connect with TAs and professors.


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