Kai Ngu ’12 Loved the Marx-Nietzsche-Freud Sequence

Kai_Ngu headshot
Kai (Sarah) Ngu ’12 is an M.A. in religion candidate at Yale Divinity School, where they are studying gender, Indigenous religions and Christian missionary history, with a focus on Southeast Asia. They are a freelance writer and journalist who have written for publications such as Vice and The Guardian, as well as for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop; they are also a co-founder of ChurchClarity.com and a former member of the Executive Council at Forefront NYC Church in Brooklyn. Ngu majored in American studies and political science at the College.

What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?

I was a fairly conservative Christian, nerdy, gangly, closeted kid … who was very curious! My saving grace.

What do you remember about your first-year living situation?

I lived in Hartley with a bunch of folks. There was Shuo from China, with whom I went on trips to Flushing; EKG, who did theater, couldn’t bring herself to speed-read Lit Hum texts, and with whom I’m still good friends; and my roommate who once said, after I slept over at the apartment of a woman I was seeing, “Wow, you must’ve stayed up all night at the library!” That was how nerdy and closeted I was!

What Core class or experience do you most remember, and why?

Relationships are maybe the most important thing to me. After a few weeks of CC, I noticed this one guy in my class, Yusuf, who asked the most astute questions and who seemed remarkably humble. I decided I wanted to befriend him. One day, I decided to trail after him out of class, and after many late-night conversations (at the IRC, etc.), we became fast friends. :)

Oh, and I really loved the Marx-Nietzsche-Freud sequence in CC.

Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?

The office of Nightline, the student peer-listening hotline, where I volunteered for three years. It was in a secret location, had a lot of snacks and I sometimes took naps there during the day.

What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?

Not go to my dad’s church so often; visit a progressive church; essentially, take steps to carve out a progressive faith.