Senior Wisdom

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Senior Wisdom is Bwog's version of the Proust Questionnaire. Every year, Columbia students are invited to nominate seniors to fill out the senior wisdom survey. Most years, between 100 and 150 seniors are nominated (many multiple times). The Bwog editors then choose a few dozen of the nominated seniors and email them that year's senior wisdom questions. During the last few weeks of the semester (and often, into the first few weeks of summer), the completed senior wisdoms are posted on Bwog. The tradition began in Spring 2006, soon after Bwog was born.


The questions have varied over the years, but these have always been included:

  • Name, school, hometown
  • Where are you going?
  • Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer
  • Three things you learned at Columbia
  • Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
  • Any regrets?

These have been included in some years:

  • Back in my day... (since 2009)
  • Advice for the incoming class of freshman/One thing to do before graduating (since 2009)
  • Any war stories from the War on Fun? (2009–2012)
  • Favorite Columbia controversy (2006–2009)
  • Best Columbia memory (2006–2008)
  • What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins? (2006–2008)
  • Which prof would make the best kisser? (2006–2008)
  • Preferred swim test stroke? (2006–2008)
  • Days on Campus memory (2006–2008)
  • Write a CU Admirers post to anyone at Columbia (2013)
  • Favorite study spot (2009)

Oral Sex or Cheese?

The most infamous question is definitely "Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?" Most seniors try to give witty or pun-filled answers to this question, rather than answering straightforwardly. Perhaps not realizing this, one senior (known only by his pseudonym, Fromage ’13) attempted a statistical analysis of the answers to this question in Spring 2013.[1] His study, which concluded that Columbia students—especially Columbia women—prefer cheese to oral sex, received some sensationalist media coverage.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Actual Wisdom

In Fall 2011, Bwog decided to begin surveying professors in addition to seniors. These actual wisdoms are posted during the end of the Fall finals season, to complement the senior wisdoms posted during the Spring finals season. The questions for actual wisdoms are slightly different than those for senior wisdoms. Bwog initially worried that professors would balk at answering the infamous "oral sex or cheese" question, so they allowed them to instead answer whether they would rather give up cheese or tenure. Surprisingly, almost all of the professors choose to answer the original "oral sex or cheese" question.

These are the actual wisdom questions:

  • Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer
  • Claim to fame
  • What's your most valuable or unexpected college experience?
  • What's the craziest student excuse/extension story you've heard?
  • Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
  • Back in my day...
  • What's your advice to students/academics/the human race in general?


External Links