If you see Daniel sneaking on to campus for the next tree lighting ceremony…mind your business.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Daniel Ortega-Venni, Columbia College, double-major in Creative Writing and CS-Math because I like to make things hard on myself, New York City

Claim to Fame: I made this meme once upon a time, have written a bunch of random Bwog articles, and let’s not forget this double-major business.

Where are you going? I want to travel! Have a last hurrah before I figure out what to do with my life. Long-term, I don’t plan on leaving the city.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2025?

1) Don’t put off doing fun events!! Don’t tell yourself “oh, I’ll wait to do x until senior year.” I fell victim to the same thing and, because of the pandemic, never actually got to do those fun things I’d been putting off. If you want to do that fun thing, just do it and stop making excuses! The future is uncertain but the present is now, as corny as that sounds.

2) Go to your classes early, especially your seminar ones! I feel like it’s easy to just drop in, take notes, and then leave without even talking to the person that’s sitting next to you. If there’s one thing that I miss from pre-COVID times, it’s the feeling of inhabiting the same physical space as other people and the idle chatter I had to engage in as we waited for our professor. These people may not end up being your lifelong friends, but it just makes the class more enjoyable.

3) Find at least one person who is majoring in the same field as you. Not only do you have an automatic study buddy but you also have a second set of eyes in case you end up missing an important email or something. I spent way too long thinking I had to struggle through my requirements on my own and that really is not the case.

“Back in my day…” m2m was still around ☹

Favorite Columbia controversy? The whole debacle about whether classes should be pass/fail when the parallelogram hit.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Time Moves Both Ways, taught by Hilary Leichter. It’s a class about time travel – what more do you need? I loved all the different books we read, among which was Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis, Kindred by Octavia Butler and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and the way this class opened up my eyes about how time travel really is such an idealized concept. It also inspired me to start writing a short story collection involving time travel! Honorable mention goes to Combinatorics, taught by Dave Bayer. An actually enjoyable math class? They do exist.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ll stick with what I know and what I know is cheese is good.

Whom would you like to thank? My parents, for being the safety net I needed. Bwog, for providing me a community during covid times. My Hartley and Furnald friends – you know who you are – for putting up with my constant requests to get food with me. Cwob. And just any and all people (non-Columbia friends included) who stuck with me throughout these four years, you all are the best and I appreciate every one of you.

One thing to do before graduating: Have class outside. I don’t care if you have to force a professor to do it, you haven’t truly lived until you’ve had a class outside.

Any regrets? A few. I wish I’d been more proactive and not as timid with people I was crushing on. And I wish I’d done more traditions while we were on campus – I never went to a tree lighting ceremony or did the primal scream. Maybe someday I’ll sneak back on campus and do it…

Image via Daniel