The latest issue of The Blue & White is on campus newsstands now, and we’ll be posting all the articles on Bwog.  “At Two Swords’ Length” is a feature presenting opposing opinions on an issue. This month, Adam Kuerbitz and Liz Naiden deliberate on whether you ever truly have a minute.

Illustration by Louise McCune


I was about to print out my final paper for “Dinosaurs and the History of Life”—long name I know, but I just call it Dinos for short (and, I mean, it is a pretty legit class, ‘cause you know it fulfills the science req and all). I wanted to take that sustainable development class but it met like five times a week, and I was like, “Fuck that, I need my me time.”

So, wait, where was I? Oh, so yeah, I was all about to print this paper, when I get a text from my buddy being like “Sorry, man, can’t do Top Chef tonight. Last midterm tomorrow. I’m so stressed!” I was pretty bummed about that, ‘cause there was going to be this Quickfire Challenge about fancy ramen.

But you know what? It’s O.K. My role in our friend group is just to chill people out. All my friends back home told me how stressed out everyone on the East Coast would be, but I knew I’d never be like that. And it’s not like I’m not ambitious. I take five classes, and this semester I’ve been doing stuff with the Chillin’ and Grillin’ Society, and I’m even thinking about applying for this internship in Brooklyn or something. I just don’t let those things take over my life, and I have no qualms about pointing it out when other people do.

Take my roommate, for instance, who was—no joke—having hot flashes the other day because he was upset over a stupid cover letter. And I was like, “Hey, I’m only going to be 17 percent stressing about this cover letter I’ve got to write,” and then I told him to flip on the Lakers game. I may have to skip Christmas dinner with my family to finish writing that, but I’m just not going to deal with that right now.

Or like a couple weeks ago, one of those cute girls from Greenpeace stopped me on the street. She just looked so perky with that clipboard and T-shirt, so what’s the harm in talking to her for a while? I mean, I totally support gay marriage. We talked so long that I ended up being late for a class, but I just told the professor the subway came late. Plus, the canvassing girl and I are going out for coffee next week. Extra-shot soy lattes. See? Only good things can happen when you take a minute out of your day to talk to people, especially the cute ones.

Well, mostly good things. I admit I did miss some details about our seminar paper because I was late. I tried to talk to my friend Liz who’s in the class too—she always ignores my Gchats, so I tried to track her down in Butler—but she’s barricaded herself into a cubby behind a wall of books and empty Red Bull cans. Whatever, I’m not that worried about it. These things always get done somehow. She wouldn’t tell me anything about the paper, anyway, so I just told her to chill out.

Which she did not. I saw her after her Harvard Law interview the week after, and of course Liz dressed like Hillary Clinton complete with the lemon in her mouth and stick up her ass. It turns out her interviewer didn’t ask her to watch Monday Night Football and have beers with him. Guess that’s what happens when you don’t even have a minute to strike up a conversation.

—Adam Kuerbitz


No, I don’t have a minute, you useless post-collegiate fuck-up. Argh, he almost knocked over my extra-shot skim latte with that insipid GreenPeace clipboard. OK, deep breath Liz, calm down, charity organizations are important parts of our society.

I truly believe in tolerance. I truly believe in tolerance. (For this mantra, Harvard interviewer, I will never forget you!) I try, I really do, but it’s so fucking hard to be tolerant of someone who obviously is collecting signatures on the street because he got Bs in college, and who asks such a ridiculous question. Do you have a minute? Seriously? Do you see these headphones? This focused stare? Just below eye level of the people walking towards you, unwavering, accompanied by the clippiest power walk I can muster without breaking out into a run. I think that makes it pretty clear that I have somewhere to be.

I never, ever have a minute. Take today: I have to run a meeting of the Inter-Columbia Young High Achieving Mentors Society, then make it to my professor’s office hours, schedule an interview with an ambassador for the piece I’ve been asked to write for a very prestigious undergraduate publication, and only after I’ve worked out do I have any time scheduled to go to Butler! I thought about switching my Butler time and my gym time actually, but as I was poised to move them around in my Blackberry calendar I reconsidered (it was SO much easier on the old Palm Pilots… ah the days). If I get a cubby seat I might be able to do better than my 1.8-page-per-hour standard while writing this paper!

So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll first set my Gchat status to “SUPER BUSY, INTERRUPT IN EMERGENCY ONLY” (otherwise people don’t really respect the red icon, since it’s usually red) and I’ll set about planning my night. All caffeine, water, and snacks go on the shelf of the cubby desk, while books for my advanced graduate seminar paper are stacked at the upper left hand corner of the main surface. My planner is laid out prominently by my right hand. I could not BELIEVE one of my friends the other day- Adam, that loafer – just sidles up to me and says, “I knew you’d be here, Liz. You always are when you’re being all stressed out! You’re even more stressed out than usual right now, aren’t you? You know what you need to do? You need to cheeeeeeeellllll brah.”

Yes, Adam, you know I’m stressed out, and so you come find me to distract me? That makes sense. No, you came over here to show off just how relaxed you are, despite the fact that finals are a less than a week away, and you must have some paper deadlines coming up too—we’re in that seminar together that you keep being late to. You just have to criticize those of us who really care about our work and our commitments, don’t you?

—Liz Naiden
Illustrations by Louise McCune