a bout of email-thinking about Ivy Leagues

thoughts thanks to an articleshare by gloroh. response much, much to belated, but finally here.


as an overly proud English major whose heart, in recognition of itself, beat faster at these paragraphs —

The first thing that college is for is to teach you to think. That doesn’t simply mean developing the mental skills particular to individual disciplines. College is an opportunity to stand outside the world for a few years, between the orthodoxy of your family and the exigencies of career, and contemplate things from a distance.

But it is only through the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart, the mind and experience, that you become an individual, a unique being—a soul. The job of college is to assist you to begin to do that. Books, ideas, works of art and thought, the pressure of the minds around you that are looking for their own answers in their own ways.

I’d like to think that the author of this article would be very proud of me. despite the fact that UVA didn’t make his list of recommended schools not trying to compete with the Ivies.

and this, this stuff is tragic; it makes me want to send this article to everyone I know who went to Ivy League schools and somehow coerce them into telling me their true inner thoughts. is it real? —

Before he started college, he spent most of his time reading and writing short stories. Three years later, he’s painfully insecure, worrying about things my public-educated friends don’t give a second thought to, like the stigma of eating lunch alone and whether he’s “networking” enough. No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.

Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.

and then, the following para made me think of this vidjo which I believe we discussed at our last dinner date.

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect ofnot being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential.

and overall, I really agree with his final suggestion for reformation:

The education system has to act to mitigate the class system, not reproduce it. Affirmative action should be based on class instead of race, a change that many have been advocating for years. Preferences for legacies and athletes ought to be discarded. SAT scores should be weighted to account for socioeconomic factors. Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications. They ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do. They should refuse to be impressed by any opportunity that was enabled by parental wealth. Of course, they have to stop cooperating with U.S. News.

and really did enjoy the whole thing, except that he seemed to get progressively angrier and angrier as he wrote on, which was detrimental to his credibility as a writer/expert and which was the principle reason I haven’t sent this article to all my friends who went to Ivies — for fear of inciting much responsive anger. hm…I dunno.

OVERALL, a MOST ENJOYABLE READ! I wonder what the state of college will be like by the time our kids are ready to go to college. if I do have kids, I hope I can be the kind of mom who instills in them the desire to gain understanding and wisdom and soul-stretchings in college and really see higher education as that best opportunity for those endeavors. but I fear that I am weak and will probably be anxious if they don’t get high SAT scores. much growth and prayer needed.


fall so far

it’s not hipster; just old-fashioned by necessity
christening the pizza pan and the oven and the kitchen. watery dough didn’t keep us from staying up til midnight, eating and talking
company picnic and first-ever “plus one”s
at work I play with devices and drink hot chocolate like it’s wintertime
snooping around cidery backpaths
“do I look natural?” post-portico sunday lunches
“hey HOW many times have you come up to nova and NOT said hi to me?!” issa becoming one with her restaurant experience; yes, that is butter in her hair
WE PERUVIAN CHIKKENIN ALL DAY catching up with the former housemate in her new house at her fancy new table
“you have opened my eyes to the world of intramural football” “psst madison, come move down the field!”
inaugural sleepover, the first of many to come 4am-ing like we’re college kids or something
😀 carter’s mountain
I lurv that we can still do this 🙂 my little, who has apparently grown up enough to have a little of her own, woah
apple tart a la [the fanciest person in my life]
I don’t care if the butter’s misplaced. I like you and your apple tarts.
“hmm so…how have your…last four years been!?” high school reunion, minified.
inaugural overtime. maybe it’s incurably, annoyingly chipper of me to say, but working late, too, was kinda fun 😉
6am lunar eclipses with my go-to skywatching guy


and daily commutes peeking at beautiful mountain views
and calm morning rituals with coffee and Bible verses
and cooking attempts with lots of burnt pieces
and kindly visitors who eat seconds anyways
and zooming up and down 29 way more than I’d expected
and spontaneous dates in the unlikeliest places
and learning learning learning, in the midst of all of this, to breathe and reflect,

remembering all that is good, bad, mediocre and being thankful for the whole entire thing.

“please teach me to be better”
“I am praying for you!”
“thank you, thank you”
“wow. you’re so smart 🙂 TELL ME MORE”

these are the updates of fall 2014, so far.

Interview Tips for the Shivering Recent Grad (and tangentials)

– if you don’t know what you’re doing and want your college experience to help you figure out your life, go to a small liberal arts one that will put you in intimate settings and personal relationships with people who have bigger ideas than you. the big places have the big opportunities, but if you don’t know what you’re supposed to taking advantage of, they’ll be missed

– if you end up going to a big college anyways, make personal connections wherever you can. take part in things that inspire you, and don’t be afraid to be in awe of awesome people because that’s the first step to learning stuff for yourself. make your big college a smaller experience for you; compose your own communities and safety nets and expansive networks, too

– go abroad.

– don’t stress out so much your final year. you may or may not get acid reflux problems and COME ON you’re only a 20-something

– prepare for phone interviews by researching online. literally the whole wide world of information is at your green little fingertips. take advantage and write things down and come up with answers that you believe in on your best day; that you wish for on your worst.

– interviewing is a practice-able skill. you will feel inadequate and underqualified for almost everything, and this feeling is mostly accurate. unless you have staked out a career or an ultimate dream or that ever-elusive “long-term plans” every recruiter seems to ask about, you will feel too vague and too general and too pointless — too everything but employable, because very often, the Reason why you feel like you’re passionate about sales is Mostly and Honestly because you just need a job. but this, too, shall pass. you is kind you is smart you is important. if you don’t believe in that sentence, get to work at making it true.