Former Tech Editor Solomia says to choose joy.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Solomia (Solo to most), SEAS, Mechanical Engineering, Champaign, IL.

Claim to fame: Keeping Bwog dot come from falling apart (aka doing the web dev) for three years. Writing a whole lot of articles on this silly little site. Using the Phinsta as my own personal meme account. Curating a photogenic EC suite. And also, for some reason, owning a very recognizable yellow windbreaker.

Where are you going? Home for a bit. Then back to the city. After that…life is vast and mysterious.

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

These are actually kinda serious, sorry everyone! I will take this time to get on my little soapbox.

  1. Passion is cool! Boredom is boring! Talking about the things you love unabashedly and excitedly makes you the most fun person in any room.
  2. Nobody’s looking at you. Be silly. Make funny faces in photos and laugh loudly in dining halls. Wear what makes you comfortable. Let your acne show. Stop trying so hard to perform whatever ideal image you’ve invented for yourself.
  3. Dwelling on whatever is bothering you will rarely help. Sometimes things happen that are horrible, and you can’t control, but you make them so much worse for yourself by stewing in your own unhappiness.
  4. Bonus 4th: transferring to the 2/3 at 96th rarely gets you to your destination faster, but the rush of dopamine you get from doing so makes it worth it every time.

“Back in my day…” Hungarian was cash only. The Mill had the best food on campus. Chef Mike didn’t have a sub shop, but he did have a Bitmoji. Columbia Confessions, Buy/Sell Memes, and RefSpotting were the backbone of campus. Having a TikTok was cringy. Zoom was just a verb meaning “go very fast.” 

Favorite Columbia controversy? A certain litmag caring too much about student well-being. Oh, and also, Columbia putting up ugly obstructive tents that literally nobody used for a whole year. They just sat there, empty of students, and slowly infested with mice. Gross!

What was your favorite class at Columbia? For my MechEs: Intro and also Intermediate Fluids with Karen Kasza. Heat Transfer with Michael Burke. CAD with Kristin Myers.
For everyone else: Post Colonial/Post Soviet Cinema with Yuri Shevchuk. Gulag Literature with Holly Myers. ArtHum with Michael J. Waters. Creative Writing Workshop with Aamir Azhar.

Using this space to talk about my favorite kind of cheese: Which is a nice, high-quality chèvre. Spread on a hot, toasty slice of caraway rye bread, with either a drizzle of fruit preserves (fig or raspberry or maybe black currant) or good dark honey. 

Whom would you like to thank? Bwog for being my first home on campus, and for getting me through the pandemic. Philo for being my second, and for showing me the fun joyful side of Columbia. The Mechanical Engineering department for letting me go home for a semester and still graduate on time. The Mt. Sinai night shift emergency team for helping save my life. The UAF for keeping my family safe. My dad for always picking up my calls. My mom for showing me how to put others first. My sister for being the only one who gets it. My friends at Columbia, at home, and beyond. If I started naming you individually or thanking you for everything you deserve to be thanked for, this article would be unreadably long.

But really, anyone I’ve ever loved or who has loved me. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the people in my life.

One Three things to do before graduating:

  1. In the fall, take a long walk from Cathedral Parkway down to the reservoir in Central Park, and admire the absolutely beautiful colorful foliage. In the winter, grit your teeth against the cold, sit on a bench, and watch the sunset in Riverside. In the spring, skip class to lay on the warm grass on the lawns. Do these things alone, silently, appreciating your own company.
  2. Drop by the Lerner Satow Room Thursdays at 9 pm, you never know what you’ll find. 
  3. Offer the people around you grace and compassion (some of y’all here never do!).

Any regrets? Not living in an SIC. Not doing more theatre and art. Not getting more involved in engineering clubs. Damn you, academic interruptions due to unforeseen global crises!

All of that, and I’m finally done. One more thing though: 

Учітесь, читайте, І чужому научайтесь, 
Й свого не цурайтесь.
– Тарас Шевченко

Слава Україні

Mudd grad photo via Jane Mok