Georgia dishes wisdom on being authentically yourself, pursuing your passions no matter how others perceive you, and regretting taking Gen Chem.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Georgia Sparks, Barnard, Environment & Sustainability, Norwich, VT

Claim to fame: Having grown up on a farm and most likely being the youngest person at this school for a year. Both facts I initially tried to hide, unsuccessfully. Fainting at a Phoebe Bridgers concert. Getting written up by ResLife as a freshman because my friend yelled “shots” as the RA on duty walked by… the only evidence being a plastic International bag in my room.

Where are you going? Home for now, to hang out with my dog and work remotely. Then hopefully out of the country.

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

  1. Just show up to shit. It took me til sophomore spring to audition for acapella, partly because I was trying to be less nerdy in college (nevermind) and mostly because I thought I wasn’t good enough. My friend literally came and joke auditioned as a beatboxer so I’d go, because I couldn’t admit I actually wanted to get into a group.
  2. Asking for help is not embarrassing. It doesn’t have to take a walk in Central Park with strangers watching you cry to realize maybe you should be honest with someone about how stressed and anxious you are. But my apologies to everyone I’ve ever frantically texted for help on my Python homework.
  3. No matter how crazy things get, you can make time for the things that matter. Be a good fucking friend. Be nice to people. My four years are by no means representative of a good school-life balance (I spent most of the time I should’ve been studying, napping in my twin XL) but I’ve always been shocked by the way people here act like they’re too busy to give a shit about anything.

“Back in my day…” There was no Milstein. Liking Hewitt was a controversial take.

Favorite Columbia controversy? Ferris thumbtack?

What was your favorite class at Columbia?
Art of the Essay with Wendy Schor-Haim, Spanish with Orlando Bentancor, What is American Studies with Manu Vimalassery, and Civil Rights & Civil Liberties with Paula Franzese. Oh and Modern Dance I (deeply humbling experience).

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Lmao

Whom would you like to thank?
Gianna my beatbox queen. Anthony of course. Vivian for making everything fun. Anna and Sophia for teaching me how to cook salmon. Daniel for not being creeped out when I made his dog my phone background. Sophia my child. Asela for always making me smile. Mae for our walks. My Nonseq people. Sharif, my KCR mentor. And obviously, my mom, dad, and brother.

One thing to do before graduating: Have one more whiskey sour at 1020

Any regrets? Taking Gen Chem. Not discovering the music library sooner. Mostly just worrying too much about what other people thought of me.

portrait via Georgia