You may recognize our former Internal Editor Vivian from PresBei’s Instagram story, but we know her for her themed social events and excellent conflict resolution skills.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Vivian Zhou, Barnard College, Behavioral Neuroscience, Shanghai

Claim to fame: Getting reposted on PresBei’s story literally yesterday. All the food I post about on Instagram stories (getting asked for restaurant recommendations constantly). Getting CAVA’ed at a frisbee party in freshman year. That nosebleed incident at 1020. Getting on a 14-hour flight from JFK to Tokyo only to fly back after an hour at the airport because it was the very day China implemented restrictions on foreigners from entering the country due to COVID. Internal editor of Bwog. 

Where are you going? Some people call it unemployment, others (me) call it taking some time off. Back to Shanghai if the government will let me in. Now that I’m vaccinated, maybe a road trip around the US if I can find someone to drive.

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

  1. Go to therapy. Most people in this school and in NYC either already have a therapist or need some therapy. Go even if you don’t think you have any serious illnesses (as much as your financial ability/insurance allows). Go even if your friends from home think it’s weird. Don’t give up if your first therapist doesn’t work out– finding a therapist is like dating, it’s not possible to find the perfect person on your first try. 
  2. Join the bartending agency. I’m not sure about the Columbia one, but the Barnard one has been so incredibly rewarding. I can’t say I can recite any drink recipe to you (of course I didn’t learn anything in the class, google is free), but the secret is that you never really have to mix a drink. Out of all the jobs I’ve done, I’ve only had to make cocktails once—most of the time I just poured wine and handed out hors d’oeuvres and napkins at 3 floor penthouses in the West Village and townhouses on Park Ave. Highlights: meeting people I never would’ve met because we have to spend so many hours together, free food from the best caterers, once eating 10+ chocolate rugelaches from Breads Bakery, getting to take home an entire unopened bottle of tequila and countless bottles of wine, and how can I forget: meeting Cynthia Nixon. Make an upperclassman friend who also does bartending because or else you won’t ever get a job (clients prefer regulars). 
  3. There are a lot of insane people at Columbia. Beware of: fraternity brothers and greek life in general, people who say “eat the rich” but are incoming associates at JP Morgan, people who cancel on you to do something else, people who only talk to you to tell you about how much work they have to do, people who are overcompensating for their lack of social life in high school, people who “don’t want to put a label on it,” the amount of people who aren’t aware of their privilege, people who want you to listen to their problems but leave when you share yours, people who bring you to a Beta party only to make out with someone else in the basement, roommates who leave you when you’re getting CAVA’ed (sorry this is getting way too specific), and lastly, anyone who had a party or traveled during COVID. 

“Back in my day…” Amigos was a bar with fish bowls that people vaguely went to until they shut down. Milstein did not exist but construction and scaffolding did. Junzi late nights. We would all share bags of chips and grapes at Bwog meeting because the big C-word never crossed anyone’s mind (COVID-19). 

Favorite Columbia controversy? I really enjoy hearing about all the people throwing illegal parties during COVID. Way to go down in history as a super spreader. But also: Mario Badescu. 

What was your favorite class at Columbia? A tie between Personal Narrative and Fiction with Weike Wang and Intro to Asian American Literature with Denise Cruz. 

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’d like everyone who answered they’d give up oral sex for cheese (which is around 95% of all the responses we get every year) to please send me what cheese they’re having. 

Whom would you like to thank? My family who will never ever read this or even if they did they would not understand most of it. Georgia for being my longest lasting best friend in college. Candy for being my roommate/apartment mate and basically like family. Peyton for being so silly. I should probably thank my boyfriend, Andrew. Then I should probably also thank Bwog, because that’s where I met him. And also Bwog for giving me a sense of responsibility and for being the only extracurricular I stuck with through college. Within Bwog, I would thank Yuki, because nobody else understands the Dead Dad experience. Aditi for being the best internal editor successor. My high school friends who I still talk to that make me feel at home when I am so far away from it. The two professors of my favorite classes I mentioned before: Weike and Denise. 1020, International, Junzi, 108 dried hot pot, Marlow Bistro, HMart, and the other fine establishments around our school. 

One thing to do before graduating: I would like to go to one of the roofs on campus that I keep hearing people are going to! Please tell me how I get there! But here are things that you should do before graduating: pee outside on campus, have s*x in Butler for the cliche, take yourself out to dinner and don’t look at your phone, climb onto the lion outside Dodge, DM someone on Zoom to be your friend in class, go to the top of Sulz to watch the sunset, 

Any regrets? Not going to UCLA instead. Half kidding. For real: not thinking about what I actually wanted to do in the future, not realizing who I wanted to be and who I wanted to surround myself with early enough.

Former Internal via Vivian