Riley Jakusik

Interaction Design (BA) '21

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

The most surprising thing that I learned is how much I love not knowing. Which sounds super confusing. But in the field of UX, the most important thing to do is admit that you do not hold all the answers. For a long time, I felt like to be successful that I had to know everything all the time. Columbia taught me that it’s the opposite. 

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

Truthfully, I don’t think I can pick just one course or experience that was most beneficial. Everything I experienced, every course I took, fit together and made everything beneficial. However, having the experience of IAM Team and Studio Collab really showed me how much I love what I have been studying and how a 9-to-5 job can still give me space to be creative. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation I will be attending USC as a student in their Master of Integrated Design Business and Technology program. There, I will be growing my skills in product design, computer science, and project management. I plan to work at a design agency while I am finishing that program. The long-term dream is to start a company that builds digital educational tools for neurodivergent individuals of all age groups.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Try everything and fail often. The most important lessons I have learned in my time at Columbia have been when things went completely wrong. So, do not be afraid to try even if you already know you are going to fail.

If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say?

I found myself, I found my people, I found my passion.