What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?
Intimidated! I came from public school after being recruited to play basketball, and the team kept describing me as valedictorian of my high school (about 20 of my classmates and I were, technically), so it was a mix of high expectations and a fear of being inadequate. I wanted to live up to the billing of an Ivy League student, so I got a bunch of books to read over the summer that I considered classics, in an effort to match up with the private school kids who, I was sure, had read them in their original languages. Once I got to the College, I quickly realized we were all mere mortals, all with our own strengths and weaknesses, indifferences and passions.
What do you remember about your first-year living situation?
Carman 12 was like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. It provided me with the friends, the support, the drive, the new perspectives that I needed to thrive. I’ll always remember coming back one day to see a big Rasterbator of my head superimposed onto an NBA player (I can’t remember which one … M.J.? LeBron?), taped up on the wall by my suite. My heart grew about three sizes that day. I’d see my floormates in the stands at my basketball games, and I’d be in the audience at their performances in the Black Box Theatre, watching Tila Tequila with them in the lounge or getting together an order of Chinese food to hit the minimum charge.
What Core class or experience do you most remember, and why?
I remember listening to fellow students in my CC class who had Republican points of view, which I hadn’t experienced much, and certainly not as part of a reasonable conversation. The diversity of Columbia showed me another aspect of its value: I got to hear the other side of the political spectrum from thoughtful humans.
Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?
After hardly studying in libraries my first couple of years — if I was by myself, I’d be people watching; if I was with friends, I’d be doing anything but studying — I grew to love the Business School library in Uris. Where every other library was deathly quiet, Uris had a buzz to it from all the group projects (among other things) being discussed. That energy and collective productivity would get me in gear.
What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?
I would make more right-handed lay-ups. Those always got me for some reason. Maybe the yips. Who knows? Just kidding, I definitely know. I’ve analyzed this exhaustively, and I have many explanations, but I won’t bore you with my theories. Actually, I can’t resist; it boils down to this: They were too easy. I prefer a challenge, like a left-handed hook shot after a spin away from a double team.