Need we say more than: it’s Chrispy!

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Christian “Chrispy” Palomares, Columbia College, American Studies, Los Angeles 

Claim to fame: I had a monologue about killing rats in the 125th Varsity Show, was the last hiking coordinator of COÖP, directed the 127th Varsity Show, am in Fruit Paunch Improv, was impeached as the president of the Columbia Kingsmen for joining the aforementioned improv group, co-directed the finest production of Annie to ever grace Broadway, and, overall, for being a ridiculous person. 

 Where are you going? Hopefully somewhere to hopefully do something. 

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

  1. Take professors not classes. 
  2. Learn in public. There were many times at this school where I felt lost in a conversation around me and every time I stopped and clarified I found that no subject was beyond my grasp and oftentimes people around me were just a confused as me, but were simply afraid of looking dumb. I argue, look so dumb. Finding the courage to not care what others think won’t be easy, but you will leave this school (and life) a better person for your ability to always be a sincere learner.
  3. Loaf and invite your soul. Loafing, aka the art of doing absolutely nothing, is essential to not only your happiness, but your ability to make sense of your experience here. There is no amount of worrying that helped me more than going on a walk through Riverside Park when life felt overwhelming. I am convinced walks (or runs) are the most important activity humans have to figure out what life is about.  

“Back in my day…” COÖP was a thriving organization and community, people didn’t attend performing arts shows, 24 hour dining was the backbone of this campus, and we had a marching band that was canceled then brought back and then #canceled.  

Favorite Columbia controversy? Oh, but there have been so many…the Barnard student who was furious about someone stealing their expensive soap, administrators telling students to eat celery to deal with a lack of air conditioning during the summer, Jacob Kaplan crying over a lack of spilled milk…hmm, I think my favorite controversy is going on right now. It is simply cinematic, how Varsity Show-like it is to see how blatantly university administrators [coughPrezBoand&AmyHungerfordcough] don’t care about undergraduate students in the face of such support for the beautiful man that is Deantini.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Unfortunately, friends, the premise behind this question is flawed so, here is my personal CULPA distilled by personal experiences and conversations with folks I trust:

  1. James Shapiro (English)
  2. Roosevelt Montás (American Studies)
  3. Mana Allen (Theater)
  4. Austin Quigley (English)
  5. Margaret Vandenburg (English)
  6. Edward Mendelson (English) 
  7. George Chauncey (History)
  8. Ellen McLaughlin (Creative Writing—she absolutely kicked my ass)
  9. Maguette Camara (Dance)
  10. Mae Ngai (History, CSER—just a queen)
  11. Seth Stewart Williams (Dance—Choreographing Race in the US is WOW)
  12. Manan Ahmed (History, CSER)
  13. Casey Blake (History, Amstd.)
  14. Roger Lehecka & Andrew Delbanco (Amst. & English—simply legends)
  15. Stephanie McCurry (History)
  16. Barbara Fields* (History)
  17. Elizabeth Blackmar* (History)
  18. Thea Abu El-Haj* (Education)
  19. Eleanor Johnson* (English)
  20. Pablo Piccato* (English)

* = I didn’t have the time to take this person’s class and I regret it

These are some of the minds who taught me something over these past four years.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? “Cheese” he bravely typed with no coy filigree, no punny musings, no lactose intolerance, no doubt his previous partners would answer similarly, and no prospects of a job at the moment he wrote it.

Whom would you like to thank? My mom, my dad, my vovó, my family, Fred Rogers, Fruit Paunch, the 125 & 127th Varsity Shows, COÖP, The Kingsmen my freshman year, queers on a bus to Jimmy Buffet, Randlanta Board, the Plaza, all the professors who made think, sometimes CMTS, Sophie, my advisor and pal Roosevelt Montás, HBO Max & Damon Lindelof for getting me through March to August 2020, Renee & The Four Agreements, Josephine Mongiardo-Cooper, and all the friends who made me laugh and feel so grateful for my 1367 days at Columbia.

One thing to do before graduating: See the Varsity Show…heck…DO the Varsity Show…and go to CPS!

Any regrets? Sometimes you should just do less. Sometimes you should just sit on campus and do absolutely nothing. Sometimes it’s ok to just enjoy what’s going on around you and not chase after all that’s in front of you. As the wonderful Dr. Renee Gibbs oftens likes to tell me, “Christian, you can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.” All my regrets here come from times I spent trying to have it all and not truly appreciating all that I did have.

Ultimately, any uncomfortable memory or regret from my four years here is overwhelmed by the deep gratitude I feel for having been able to come to Columbia in the first place. 

Thank you for reading this and hope any bit of  this “wisdom” helps you build a meaningful time at Columbia…mine certainly was.

Photo of Christian via himself