Alyssa Derezycky

Cultural Studies (BA)

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?  

The most surprising thing I learned at Columbia was how important it is to be informed about the world you represent in your work as an artist. In my sophomore year I made a massive leap from the Comedy program to Cultural Studies for that reason; I realized that if I wanted to be an agent of social change in our culture, I needed to do the work academically to ensure I was capable. I’m still working on it now, but I got a lot closer to where I want to be through the Cultural Studies program (shout out to all my amazing professors!).    

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?  

I’m really gassing up the Cultural Studies program here, but the courses I’ve taken in my major or as a humanities credit have been most beneficial to me academically, artistically, and personally. I cringe thinking of who I would be without acquiring the knowledge I gained through classes taught by Cultural Studies professors. I truly believe that the C.S. minor should be a requirement for all students at Columbia. We all aim to contribute to culture in one way or another, so we should know how to do it wisely.    

What are your plans for after graduation?   

In July, I’ll be moving to New York to pursue my master’s degree at Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. At Gallatin, I’ll be studying Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Filmmaking.    

Do you have any advice for current students?  

My advice for current students is to take advantage of all the agency you have during your education. Your college experience will only be as fruitful as you make it, so put the effort in to curate your ideal experience at Columbia. That means choosing all your courses carefully based on your personal and professional goals, creating a network of people that help you grow, and ensuring that you're getting the experience you're paying for by working with the college, and not letting the college work you.