What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?
For a while, I thought that I had been much more uptight, anxious and serious at the beginning of my College time than at the end, and then much more of those things at the end than I am now. But then maybe a year ago I got drinks in Washington, D.C., where I live now, with Mustafa Hameed ’11, JRN’13, whom I met my junior year, and I said that I thought I’d calmed down a lot since college. And he goes, “You’re the same.” And I said, “Well, I think I’m a lot more chill now.” And he goes, “You’re exactly the same.” So I guess that’s my answer — I was then like I am now.
What do you remember about your first-year living situation?
I lived in a suite in Hartley — I did indeed both live and learn in The Living-Learning Center. I met Paula Gergen ’12, whom I still consider one of my closest friends in the world, in that suite. There was also one person there with whom I didn’t get along, but as this is a website for all alumni, including her, I will just thank her for teaching me that sometimes situations are so absurd that they become funny, and also for all the time that I spent in the library my second semester freshman year.
What Core class or experience do you most remember, and why?
On the first day of Lit Hum a young woman from Pakistan talked about the political protest she had been involved in before coming to the College. I remember thinking, “I’m going to learn so much from my peers!” And I was right.
Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?
I like the Steps, because of course I do. I like the seventh floor of Hamilton, because I was a Russian literature major — majoring in Russian lit was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and if you’re considering the major, yes, you should do it — and the seventh floor of Hamilton is where the Slavic department is. And it’s not on campus but I like the Spec office, because it is where I became who I am, in a way (that’s probably too earnest but it’s true).
What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?
I would worry much less than I did. If you are an undergraduate and you are reading this: First of all — Hi! Thank you for reading. Second of all — do not cry over that grade, because it doesn’t matter; do not cry over that guy, because he definitely doesn’t matter; and do not cry over your choices, because the ones you make will probably be fine, and because you will be, even if they’re not.