Shahreen reminds you to put yourself out there, to engage, and live boldly.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Shahreen Hossain, Barnard College, Computational Neuroscience, Brooklyn, New York 

Claim to fame: Being the first Barnard first generation president of Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs, first senior to be initiated into Kappa Phi Lambda, founded Columbia’s first undergraduate Product Management Fellowship when everyone dreamt of being a product manager, have the worst sleep schedule~often running on 5 hours of sleep, have only 4 enzymes to breakdown lactose

Where are you going? Grew up in the city and I will happily remain in the city. I will be working in the Fidi area as a product manager and I will develop a product that at least 60% of college students already use. I am excited to spend my summer after senior year volunteering in Japan to teach Japanese high school students English and leadership skills. 

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

  1. Be involved in the greater Columbia community and strive to be a valuable member. Become a student worker as a Peer Career Advisor, Writing Fellow, paid mentor or whatever floats your boat. Attend more events like Glass House Rocks or Bacchanal with your friends. Immerse yourself within the student life and culture. Ask people out for coffee chats. If you find friends who are the opposite of you, then keep them around. If you’re chaotic and they’re organized, then rely on them to send you the g-cal invite for all the events. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you just met to grab a meal. The more people you talk to, the wider your perspective becomes. You’d be surprised at how many people are so kind, insightful, silly and but also at times naive, unaware and living under a rock. 
  2. Say yes to more things in college and miracles will happen. As an incoming freshman we had to post a long “about me” post on Facebook. Putting myself out there led my now college best friend and first year roommate to find me. I decided to go on a Global Tech Trek trip through CORE during my senior winter break with a ton of people I barely knew. Shortly after they became some of my closest friends senior year. This entrepreneurship trip helped me become my most confident and least anxious self yet!  
  3. Deeply observe the people around you and find who/what inspires you. Keep those idols close in your life. For me these were upperclassmen that took me under their wings. Ask them for help. Follow their footsteps if need be. When the time is right you will be ready to grow your own wings, just like they did one day. Then start mentoring others and you’d be surprised when you become someone’s inspiration. deal
  4. Bonus: be relentless. Sometimes it’s better to not settle for a no for an answer. Ask for a better grade, ask for feedback, seek funding, and cold email people. You will find a way. 

“Back in my day…” We didn’t have duo security and JJs was open 23 hours a day, 7 days a week

Favorite Columbia controversy? Which one is the superior dining hall again? It has to be Hewitt right?

What was your favorite class at Columbia? I believe you should take classes purely for the professor even if the topic is out of your comfort zone. Here are some classes with awesome professors that could change your life. 

  1. Constitutional Challenges with Elizabeth Ouyang–when I came into college I felt malleable as if I could not form my own opinions easily. As one of the only non pre-law students, after taking this course, I have become fierce and a more vocal advocate. I have discovered my non-negotiable core values and beliefs 
  2. Religion, Technology, Future and/or Interpretation of Buddhist Yoga with David Kittay. You will learn things you have never thought of before. Be ready for your mind to be blown 
  3. Writer’s Process with professor Pam Cobrin. You can only take this class if you’re accepted in the Writing Fellows program at Barnard but it will change how you show up in this school and beyond
  4. Human-centered Design with Harry West. Everyone needs to be more empathetic to design a better future  

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Do you know how hard it’s to rely on my 4 enzymes to break down cheese? Hence I carry Lactaid pills everywhere I go. I cannot give up on free cheese. There is always free cheese on campus. 

Whom would you like to thank? I would like to thank Beyond Barnard and the Peer Career Advisor community along with any students that I ever advised. I have learned from my peers as much as they have learned from me. I am thankful to the writing fellows program for teaching me how to truly listen to others, ask insightful questions as a novice reader and help people including myself to write the “first shitty draft.” I am immensely grateful to the Access Barnard community at Barnard for uplifting each other and always lending a helping hand. I am grateful to CORE for hosting the best formals, and more importantly for uniting the most ambitious and thoughtful people. Lastly, I am grateful to my friends who taught me to become a Bold Beautiful Barnard Baddie, to believe in myself, to believe in others, uplift each other and always be true to myself. 

One thing to do before graduating: Spend one day, just one day living your ideal self’s daily routine. Like waking up at 5 am, going to Dodge to workout, turn in homework early etc. Test it out to see if this ideal self in our head is truly making you happy if it were to be a reality. 

Any regrets? Not laying down on the lawn and sitting on low steps enough to soak in the sun and reading a book. Not taking more walks with friends on a breezy summer night. Not sledding down the hill on Riverside Park when it snowed nor making a snowman. Always being on the go and not slowing down to just linger a little longer. 

Shahreen via Shahreen