Wesley has really done it all.
Name, School, Major, Hometown: Wesley Schmidt; Columbia College; Sociology; Walton, KY
Claim to fame: Welcoming the classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 to campus as a member of the NSOP Committee, yelling at people during move-in while playing “For a Page of the Iliad,” writing the 127th Varsity Show, and if you’ve seen a non-CU Players show, there’s a good chance I was in it…
Where are you going? Home to play Jesus in a dinner theatre production of Godspell, then right back to Columbia for law school.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2026?
- Try everything, but know that you won’t be able to do everything. People will always tell you not to stretch yourself too thin or that you only have time for three clubs, but if it’s something you’re passionate about and truly love doing, you’re going to find a way to make it work. So if there’s a class that sounds interesting, or a student group that feels like the perfect fit, go ahead and sign up for it! If it doesn’t bring you the joy you thought it would, you don’t have to stay with it. You’ll regret the things you don’t try far more than the things you do.
- Hang out in your floor lounge, ESPECIALLY if you’re a first year. You can make some of your closest friends just by leaving your room and taking that walk down the hall. Some of the most memorable, crazy nights of college started just because I peeked my head in the lounge to see who was there. You may even end up living with those people again as a senior!
- Take some time to sit on Low Steps at night, with Butler Library all lit up. When I first witnessed that view, I told my friend that I would never get used to it, but almost inevitably I did. It’s so easy to become jaded and take for granted the things that were once so exciting or meant so much to you. Over the course of my first two years, I often felt more frustrated than fortunate. It took being separated from Columbia for me to realize how much I appreciated my time here. Returning to Low Steps to soak in the view is my way of reminding myself just how lucky I am. Despite all the craziness Columbia throws at you, take time to appreciate its beauty.
“Back in my day…” Lamb over rice at the Halal carts only cost $5, Columbia Crushes was still an active Facebook page, Hex and Co. was still next to the Shaking Crab (which I HAVE eaten at…once).
Favorite Columbia controversy? The “I Go to Columbia” starter pack one of my floormates posted on Columbia Buy/Sell Memes. He became Barnard’s Public Enemy #1 for about a month after that.
What was your favorite class at Columbia? “Acting Sondheim” with Mana Allen and Barbara Anselmi. They are two of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet and yet they will push you to become a better singer-actor than you ever thought possible. There are so many tips and tricks I picked up from their class that I still use when approaching a song.
Buuuut if acting isn’t your thing, “Freedom of Speech and Press” with Lee Bollinger. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as engaged in a class; the readings are hard, but they are fascinating. You’ll find yourself wanting to understand every little nuance, then volunteering to serve on his cold call panel. Quite frankly, it’s the class that convinced me to pursue law.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Once you’ve had cheese you can’t go back…
Whom would you like to thank? This is going to be a long and yet still incomplete list: my parents (because without them I would never have gotten here in the first place), my grandparents (for their constant support and so many care packages), Riley/Paul/Liv/Abhi (for sticking with me this whole journey), Noah (for proving you CAN find close friends in your classes), Tyler (forever my piano accompanist), Michael (for all the amazing pasta and movie nights), Nina (for being the best, most supportive first college director ever), Jackson (for being my literal Day 0), Gigi (for being the greatest scene/writing partner), Chrispy (for casting me as Deantini for Deantini’s goodbye celebration), Hunter/Michael/Mahad (for the EC H705/H806 brotherhood), Sophia (for quite literally helping me get into law school- I would’ve been clueless without you), Francisco/Chad/Joe/Jack (for reassuring me that upperclassmen aren’t scary and really do want to be your friends), Aaron/Naja (for being such incredible bosses and trusting me to run NSOP), CMTS (for always giving me a home here), V126/V127 (for letting me join the history), Bwog (for putting it in writing that I look like Zac Efron—just check the Legally Blonde review), AMC A-List and the Lincoln Center AMC (for enabling my movie addiction)…
One thing to do before graduating: Swim in the fountains. They’ve been taunting me for four years now…
Any regrets? I never went to PostCrypt and that bums me out. Also, never performing with CU Players.
Portrait via Wesley