What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?
Overextended. I was in rehearsals for an Off-Broadway play. I did all my classes really early in the morning and then raced to midtown every day for rehearsal. My whole first semester I was doing a play every night so I didn’t make any friends. I realized quickly I needed to quit acting and just focus on school if I was going to get my money’s worth.
What do you remember about your first-year living situation?
I lived in John Jay. And again, since I was doing the play, I was kind of a woman of mystery because I was gone every night! When the review came out, the kids on my floor left The New York Times outside my door with a note saying, “Congratulations! And no wonder none of us know you at all!”
What class do you most remember and why?
I took an American Literature class with Margaret Vandenburg GSAS’96 at Barnard that meant a lot to me. She was instrumental in helping me form a relationship with feminism and become really confident in it (important work these days). I remember once I went on a run right after meeting with her and said to myself, “You can be exactly who you want to be.”
Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?
I used to sneak in to Hamilton Hall at night and work in one of the smaller classrooms by myself. It allowed me to focus better than I did in the library. I could get up and dance around if I was losing steam. It was my little secret.
What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?
I would go to office hours more and forge relationships with the professors I really liked. I want to scream at my younger self: “You can party every weekend when you get out of school!” Youth is wasted on the young.