Random roommates for the win!

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Sofia Perez, Barnard, Art History, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Claim to fame: Studying in Milstein so much my iPhone thought it was my “home” in maps (see image below), then posting about it in the Overheard at Barnard Facebook and people just felt bad for me. Only drinking Diet Coke. Going to the Met 50+ times. Getting internet bullied with Courtney Lyons about betta fish passing away in our Hewitt dorm tour with Refinery 29’s Sweet Digs. RIP Jeremiah. 

Where are you going? To Dos Toros, do you want anything?

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

  1. People seem to know what they’re doing and have everything together. In reality, no one knows what they are doing, especially if you’re a freshman. You don’t have to study economics and go work at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. You got into this school so you deserve to be here! Don’t worry about your major requirements because chances are you’re going to change your major many times. Take classes you genuinely find interesting your first year and worry about credit requirements later. 
  2. Actually use the career center. Beyond Barnard helped me so much. They have peer career advisors and you can drop in and ask them for help with a cover letter or resume. The first time I went in they completely tore apart my resume, but helped me create a better one and let me tell you, I got a lot more interviews after that. Shoutout to A-J Aronstein. 
  3. Have fun and get off campus. Prioritize spending time with your friends or just taking some time for yourself. Trust me, the only thing about college you’re going to remember are the nights you partied in EC with your friends and not the nights you spent in Milstein or Butler. Sometimes we forget that we go to school “in the City of New York” and there’s so many amazing things to do here. Your student ID gets you free or discounted admission to so many cool museums. 
  4. Adding one more: go random with your freshman year roommate. Picking someone from the Class of 2025 Facebook group doesn’t always work out. I only know of one good experience about roommates in my year who met online and became best of friends all four years. Otherwise, people end up switching roommates by the end of the first semester. Trust me, go random. It’s part of the college experience!

“Back in my day…” Hewitt had a B rating. Milstein construction occupied the entire campus. Futter Field was not a thing. JJ’s had different opening times for Barnard students. 

Favorite Columbia controversy? When President Beilock became the Barnard President, she changed her Instagram handle from @sianbeilock to @presbeilock. A Barnard student in the year above me changed her finsta name to @sianbeilock and Barnard found out and asked to meet with her. The student was prepared to negotiate for the Instagram handle, but all they offered her was a few meal points in exchange for it and she declined their offer. I think that’s just hilarious. Honorable mention goes to when they told the Class of 2022 to eat celery in response to the massive heatwave in August and not having AC. 

What was your favorite class at Columbia? 

This is hard! I think I’ll go with Greek Myth in Ancient Art with Professor Mylonopolous. He showed up to class the first day in all-white linen clothing and asked what time it was because he was still on “Athens time.” I loved every lecture.

Honorable mentions go to Ancient Near Eastern Literature with Professor Shelley. He’s so passionate about the material and this class really taught me that what seems like a big deal in our lives right now will just be a blip in history. 

Sorry one more: Twentieth-Century Art with Professor Alberro. He’s the chillest professor I’ve ever had and this class helped me understand what I’m actually looking at when I go to the MoMA. 

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’m currently on keto and cheese makes up basically 70% of my diet so…

Whom would you like to thank?

First, special thanks goes to my parents who worked so hard to get me here. Thank you to my brother Tomas for always making me laugh. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. We are a tight-knit Colombian bunch and they’ve taught me that family is everything. 

I would like to thank Courtney Lyons, Asha Meagher, and Anagha Havildar for being the best roommates during this stressful year. Special shoutout to Courtney for being my roommate since sophomore year. I couldn’t have done four years of college without a best friend like her. I’d like to thank my boyfriend Riley Marsh CC’20 for always motivating me and driving hours into the city to see me. My Barnumbia experience wouldn’t have been as special without him. Special thanks goes to Hadley Callaway and Caroline Kichler, my closest friends since freshman year. These gals really know how to make me laugh. To my little Lina Ariyan, thank you for being the best thing to come out of joining a sorority. It’s been amazing to live in the same building as you. 

I’d also like to thank my academic advisor Professor Deutsche and my thesis advisor Professor Higonnet. I don’t think I would have met all the art history major requirements or completed a somewhat-coherent thesis without them. I also want to thank Meet Me at the Museum and all the friends I made on the exec board. I’ll never forget the special accomplishments we achieved together. 

One thing to do before graduating: Write a senior thesis. At times you’ll regret taking on such a big project, but you’ll be so proud of yourself when it’s done! Go to all the Senior Nights you can. Also, I wish I could have some Diana sushi or deli sandwich one last time. I miss waiting in line during the 1:10 rush. 

Any regrets? In pre-Covid times, pushing off social events and saying, “Eh, I’ll do that my senior year.” Once things are better, live life like there’s gonna be a global pandemic lockdown tomorrow. 

Photo credits to Arielle Shternfeld BC ’21