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Senior Saturday: Ellie Deresiewicz

Name: Ellie Deresiewicz

School: Columbia College

Major: Music

1. What made you decide to come to Columbia?

Two things: the Core and New York City.

2. Thoughts on the Core?

I loved the idea of it when I applied to Columbia, but, after experiencing the main tenants of the curriculum (namely Lit Hum and CC), I realized that, though noble in its efforts, the Core fails its students in huge ways. Don’t get me wrong – I loved some of the Core classes I took (Music Hum and my Global Core classes were up there for sure), but having grad students teaching classes that are supposed to literally define one’s Columbia experience. In addition, having to read so many books each semester– being forced to spend one or two classes on a work that likely deserved a whole semester–was incredibly frustrating and disheartening. In short, I love the idea, but the execution needs work.

3. What are some of the extracurriculars in which you have been most involved over the last few years?

Over the past four years, I have been incredibly involved in my sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, and I served as the Vice President of Recruitment for my chapter last year. This year, I am serving as one of the two Co-Chairs for the Columbia College Senior Fund.

4. What is your favorite study spot on campus?

Thick tie between Butler 6 and my bed, where I can do homework in that half-conscious state between sleeping and being awake where you think you’ve absorbed everything you read for the past 30 minutes and then realize after you actually nap that you need to go back and read the last 10 pages of your assignment.

5. What’s the best class you’ve taken thus far and why?

I can’t pick one, so it’s a three-way tie:

The Social World with Shamus Khan –he’s a baller.

Introduction to Cultural Psychology with Valerie Purdie-Vaughns –she’s a baller, too (but actually –she was on the Columbia Women’s Basketball Team as an undergrad).

Listening to Hip-Hop with Ellie Hisama. Because when else will you get to write a paper on Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and actually get credit?

6. Who is your hero here at school?

Raj. He works at Dodge Café and occasionally makes appearances at Butler Café. If you’ve never met him, go to Dodge Café just to say hi. I have seen him about three times a week for the past four years and, every time we talk, he has the biggest smile on his face. He always puts me in a good mood and asks me how I’m doing. Here at Columbia, we sometimes get so busy and so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to interact with those around us; Raj always reminds me to take a couple minutes out of my day to smile and say “hi” to the wonderful people that make this campus what it is.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

In New York City, doing something that makes me happy. That’s all I got for now.

8. If you had to give one piece of advice to the incoming freshmen, what would it be?

Do things on campus about which you feel passionate and in which you are interested, and find friends who support your decisions to do these things. You don’t have to major in Econ or do the pre-med track (unless you want to, in which case, do you). There will be people throughout your time in college who will question your decisions to take this class or to major in that subject, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who is going to have to make it through the next four years –no one else. Doing what makes you happy instead of what makes those around you happy is the most important thing I’ve learned in my time here. And finding people who support your passions and your interests is the best way to come out of your four years here feeling that you spent your time productively and happily. 

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