Stay in school—literally.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Anika Tsapatsaris, Columbia College, Major in Architecture; Special Concentration in Modern Greek Studies, Ridgewood, New Jersey 

Claim to fame: While giving a virtual campus tour during the pandemic, I accidentally appeared with the photo of Mike Pence with a fly on his head as my Zoom background. I’m less known for my roles as two-time Captain of the Columbia University Fencing Team and President of the Alpha Chi Omega and Order of Omega Fraternities.

Where are you going? Only twelve days after Commencement, I will begin pursuing a dual degree in a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation! #4moreyears

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2026? 

  1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. In New York, silence is scary, and the sirens are your lullaby. You don’t learn to navigate the subway until you’ve gotten brutally lost. Unless you’re #blessed with COVID, you despise walking down the sidewalk because it reminds you of your sense of smell. And, your classroom is a courtroom of vibrant opinions, ornamented with statements like “to piggyback off of that” and “just to play devil’s advocate.” 
  2. But you were built to find comfort in the chaos; as the wise wall at Terminal B of Newark Liberty International Airport says, “Some New Yorkers are born. Some are made. All are welcome.”
  3. That being said, make sure to remember the Greek adage, “everything in moderation.” That includes studying, exercising, and the amount of dining hall coffee cups you fill with extra food to take as “to-go containers.”

“Back in my day…” You couldn’t cover a zit with an N95. 

Favorite Columbia controversy? Is Pupin pronounced “Pyoopin” or “Poopin”? 

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Art Humanities with Professor Michael Sanchez. It was my first class at Columbia, and my first impression of the university—so I guess you could say the impressionists did a good job… (*laughing in Monet*)

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’m Greek. Feta cheese is my fuel. Next question, please.

Whom would you like to thank? The staff at the Hartley Hospitality desk. The man in the morphsuit who leg-launches water bottles into the waste bins on Low Beach. My blood sisters and sorority sisters, my fencing teammates and old roommates. The person whose lost ID I found, and the person who found my lost ID. (It was me. I found my lost ID. It was on my mini-fridge.) 

One thing to do before graduating: Don’t graduate—go to Columbia for graduate school :)

Any regrets? Not using hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes properly until senior year -_-

Portrait via Anika