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Senior Profiles: Emily May Shyr

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Emily–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with degrees in Music and History–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I’m really passionate about my majors: music and history. Columbia has really let me thrive as both a musician and a historian for a number of reasons. My fellow musicians and classmates, especially in the history department, are so supportive and open-minded. They have really helped create a positive atmosphere where I, and others, feel comfortable asking questions. I’ve also had great mentors in the history and music departments. A few really great TAs and professors come to mind; they were just so generous with their time, and they wanted to help me succeed. They listened to me even when I only had a rudimentary idea of what research I wanted to do. They helped me solidify these ideas I had that I didn’t know exactly how to flesh out, and pointed me in the right direction. Now that I have a better grasp on these ideas, I want to go to graduate school to learn more. 

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

I would relive freshman year. I was so shy about everything and missed out on some good opportunities. I should have just thrown myself all in; my year would have been so much richer if I did that.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

How arrogant and egotistical some people can be. It’s not all about you. 

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

Butler! I didn’t realize it until I checked out books for my senior thesis this year- there are so many books that have been checked out only once or twice…or haven’t been checked out at all. Image how many books are there just waiting to be opened! You could be the first one at this school who’s read them. (I know this sounds nerdy, but when you’re doing research and open a brand-new book, it feels pretty awesome.)

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Be ambitious. Over the past four years it got easier and easier to become more and more complacent, but don’t fall into a lull. Keep on challenging yourself, because 1) you are capable of more than you think, and 2) that’s the only way you’re ever going to grow. 

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