Get comfortable with failure, take courses you actually enjoy, and skip classes at least once before graduating.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Layla Alexander, CC, Economics, Alexandria, VA

Claim to fame: Working on Hoot? Maybe the CU Black Pre-Professional Society. Probably something extracurricular. 

Where are you going? Downtown to start working full-time

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

  1. Listen to your body! I came into college with an insane sleep schedule and thought I could make up for it with caffeine but obviously this was delusional. Get your sleep, even if it means you miss lecture or turn in some assignments late. As my roommate reminded me the other day, ask for forgiveness, not permission. Make sure you eat too and keep snacks in your room/suite.
  1. Take the classes that interest you most. School can be so hard but taking classes you actually like (especially if you’re not in love with your major) makes it significantly more enjoyable. Taking classes in the English, Sociology, and CS departments made my semesters so much more bearable than if I’d stuck to Econ and the Core. 

    Go to niche campus events too. Check out the flyers in Dodge and Hamilton and scope out the lectures and showings happening across campus. There’s something so thrilling about calling it a wrap on work for the day and just heading to a speaker event, musical performance, etc.  
  1. A bad grade, a bad class, or a bad semester will suck in the moment but it’s not by any means the end all be all. Getting comfortable with failure and being able to get up and dust off my knees is probably the biggest life lesson I’ve taken away from the past four years. As time passes you realize that the things you stressed over are so insignificant. Don’t stress about things you can’t change either. I think a lot of people come into college thinking they alone determine the course of their lives (control issues, some might call this) but once you step back and realize that you can really only determine a small part of your path and might as well relax, life becomes a lot more exciting. Also don’t feel bad about procrastinating — for whatever reason I have trouble doing assignments without feeling some sort of time crunch but my philosophy is you might as well do something fun/creative/relaxing and then get to the work when you feel inspired to.

“Back in my day…” Nuss had the best bagels in Morningside Heights, some assignments had to be handed in in person outside of class hours, and visiting Yoga to the People on 103rd was a right of passage.

Favorite Columbia controversy? No favorites but there are definitely too many controversies here to count

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Ethics with Michele Moody-Adams, UWriting with Elleza Kelley, Computing in Context with Adam Cannon, Data: Past, Present, Future with Matthew Jones and Christopher Wiggins, (admittedly) Econometrics with Tamrat Gashaw, and Global Urbanism with Saskia Sassen and Lisa Owens.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Dairy makes me bloated so.

Whom would you like to thank?
My friends, my parents, my brother, my CUBPS family, my Hoot collaborators, CORE, every professor and TA that accepted my late & half-assed work… the list goes on. 

One thing to do before graduating: Seriously, skip your classes and relax, just explore campus, go to cool events in the neighborhood and in the city, there’s really so much to take in during your four years here. None of this is that serious! 

Any regrets? None

mask selfie via Layla