To conclude our Spring 2023 Senior Wisdoms is our 2021 Editor-in-Chief, Lauren. Thank you for everything, especially for being a friend.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Lauren Kahme, Barnard College, Environmental Science and Sustainability, Boca Raton, Florida

Claim to fame: Being Editor-in-Chief of Bwog and then dropping off the face of the Earth. Oh, and being from Florida but sounding like I’m from New York (I’m from both, really).

Where are you going? To Queens! Just a quick walk and rowboat distance away from Manhattan. Eager to start my career in Brooklyn in the renewable energy space!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2027?

  1. You’re actually capable of far more than you realize. Coming out of high school, I thought I was heading straight on a path for the humanities, political science, and writing and debating my life away. Which I still may do. But I discovered the beauty of science, fieldwork, observing nature, performing data analysis on environmental information, and then still writing about it. I never believed I would or could consider myself a scientist before undergoing classes at Barnard and Columbia. You will certainly surprise yourself with how able you are in your studies and in your coursework, even when it feels like an incredible challenge. Especially when it does. 
  2. Communicate beyond what you think is necessary. With friends, professors, TAs, family members, and romantic interests, making sure that lines of communication are open and entirely clear on both ends is essential. Read all the emails you get in detail, and reach out if you need help. No actually, express to whoever you want that you require assistance (including the Deans at Barnard who are so lovely). Speaking problems aloud and voicing concerns is infinitely better than staying silent or trying to figure it out on your own—both for you and the person who can respond back with support!
  3. This one’s for those who share the anxiety bug with me <3 Life’s too short to feel awkward or weird around others; plus, usually everyone’s too focused on themselves to notice or care. This goes along the lines of the message that everyone will judge you for better or for worse, so you should just do what brings you joy anyway. I spent way too much time worrying about what peers thought of me, how certain actions of mine would be perceived, and what I thought I should do rather than what I wanted to do. Something that often grounds me is thinking, “Will this matter 5 years from now?” and my answer has never been yes. That got me through many an uncomfortable social situation, which may just have been uncomfortable in my head!

“Back in my day…” JJs was open 22 hours each day, and toilet paper was a rare commodity in US grocery stores. 

Favorite Columbia controversy? The Marching Band ~situation~ (Vic provides a great synopsis at number 5 on this list).

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Probably Energy Law with Professor Michael Gerrard. Awesome opportunity to take classes at the law school, Gerrard is iconic, his TAs are really helpful and supportive, and this class, in particular, pointed me in the direction of my passion for renewable energy!

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? My favorite meal as a child was buttered penne noodles with one enormous mountain of parmesan cheese burying the pasta in a thick blanket of cheesy snow. Variations of this are still my favorite meals.

Whom would you like to thank? I’d like to thank my parents, without whom I genuinely would not be writing this, for their endless love and support and acceptance over the years. Zach, for his superior hugs and relentless belief in me. My school friends, especially those in the Env. Sci. department, who have laughed and struggled with me into the late hours of the night throughout my time at Barnard. I thank Bwog for giving me community so early on in my college career. My non-school non-NYC friends who love and care for me over Facetime. My therapist, my extended family in the NY area, my many incredible professors, my first-year roommates, Zoom, and Diana’s burrito bowls all deserve thanks for helping me get through my years at Barnard. 

One thing to do before graduating: Wake up early, walk in Riverside Park with the sunrise (I love doing this when there’s snow), and go to Hungarian Pastry Shop near the time when they open, before items sell out. You will have gotten some nature strolls in and worked up a bit of an appetite for the most beautiful and abundant pastry spread you’ve ever seen. You have your pick of the litter early in the morning!! 

Any regrets? Not really. Any time I think of something that could have gone differently, I remind myself that my path would have been altered, and I wouldn’t have the life I currently do. And I really like my life right now. 

Lauren via Lauren