There’s so much our former Visual Editor illustrates perfectly: sketches of absurd campus scenes and the process of reflecting on them.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Shane, SEAS, Electrical Eng*neering, Christ Church, Barbados

Claim to fame: Never taking an 8:40. Soothingly staring back at you as you struggled through Intro to EE. Conceptualizing 92.7% of Bwog’s bad and/or questionable artistic choices.

Where are you going? TO BED (my sleep schedule needs fixing). Then to SF to try to stop the world from burning.

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

I swear I didn’t copy these; a lot of us just seem to have gone through the same stuff.

  1. Do less. I think a lot of us measure our success at Columbia based on how many clubs we’re in, or how rigorous our courseload is. My most impactful moments have been when I prioritized things I genuinely cared about and fully committed to them. It’s important to have honest conversations with ourselves about what really matters and focus on those things. Don’t be the SEAS first-year taking all the highest tracks just to challenge yourself. Don’t spend your weekends stressing about every answer on a problem set that’s only worth 2% of your final grade. Those things just take up time that you could be spending doing research that you’re passionate about, exploring New York, or meeting people.
  2. Be genuinely kind. Most of my closest friendships started because of the smallest moments of warmth rather than shared career interests or proximity in clubs. Specifically on Columbia’s campus, where interactions feel forced, clinical, and transactional, I’ve found that genuinely being nice to people is what shifts a friendship from occasional heys on College Walk to spending entire nights together cackling at the most unhinged things.
  3. Do all the free Columbia things. Go to museums. Join the lotteries (and when you don’t win wait for stand-by tickets). I’m speaking as a non-wealthy person but this is probably the last time in your life when these places are going to be so accessible. So drag along your friends and go as often as you can. Also, when you think about it, this access isn’t free; whoever pays your tuition (whether it’s you, your parents, or an entity) is the one really paying for it.

“Back in my day…” ISOP existed. Ferris’ cereal offerings included Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Hartley dorms were carpeted. Shake Shack’s card scanner worked. The Met Breuer was open (particularly disheartened by this one).

Favorite Columbia controversy? The COVID-19 summer when Columbia Confessions turned into an exposé for sexual assault and racism; that was genuinely the most honest and freeing Columbia has felt, and I’m happy for all the people who started healing because of it.

Bonus: When Columbia students completely dismissed COVID-19’s existence and converged on the lawns.

Favorite space on campus? The window nook in Lerner 505. I discovered it during ISOP, and that’s the only love-at-first-sight trope I believe in (very targeted at Charlotte and George). To be clear, I’ve never actually been productive there, but it leaves me vibing and happy.

Favorite Dining Hall concoction? JJ’s. Columbia Dining coffee cup. Add an espresso shot from the Nescafe machine. Swirl to cool down. Add a half-scoop of Oreo bits. Drizzle caramel syrup around the cup’s inside for plating (don’t focus on the fact that you’re using an opaque cup). Fill with vanilla milkshake leaving a bit of space for the milkshake to expand. Top with a scoop of Oreo bits and a drizzle of caramel syrup.

What was your favorite class at Columbia?

  1. Dance in Africa with Prof. Bushidi: The amount I read was physically exhausting, especially as an illiterate SEAS student. However, it’s the only Columbia class I’ve had with both a Black professor and predominantly Black students. Surprisingly, it was also the first class where the learning wasn’t performative, I didn’t have to listen to a devil’s advocate, and everyone had the opportunity to contribute meaningfully.
  1. Analog Electronics with Prof. Kinget: I might get slandered for this, but yes, I’m a Kinget apologist; I loved that class! He’s the one engineering professor that continuously excited me about a class. He talked with passion, didn’t just read from slides, and related topics to actual engineering. (and let’s be real: as engineers we don’t care about theory, we just want to design stuff)

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I really want to know who pays Bwog to let seniors ruin their future careers and how much they pay. Like is it PrezBo, the Columbia Independent, or Cornell?

Whom would you like to thank? My parents and my siblings. Shanelle and Athena: my last two brain cells. Every Caribbean campus worker who recognized my accent. CSA, especially Laurelle, Johan, and Malakai. Simone and Vanessa in the Multicultural Affairs office. Bwetchpad. Bwog; I love you all immensely. Cassandra and Richard for carrying the EE department. NASA SPOCS EE Team. Michael, Abdul, Jackie, Leo, Margherita, Rano, and every other EE student who witnessed me gradually lose my sanity. Intro to EE LAs. Everyone else that I’d mention if I had enough space. Black people existing on this campus.

One thing to do before graduating: Go to the International Center of Photography! Something about seeing large, blown-up photographs is just awing, and it’s far enough from Columbia that it doesn’t make sense to go back right away and you’re forced to spend more time off campus.

Any regrets? Honestly, just not taking up space sooner; I wasted a lot of time not expressing interest in engineering projects and not talking to people I found interesting.

Shane Bwetches via Shane with photos via @giannacarlyphotos