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Pick Your Own Career

Now that most of us have traded in cubicle-desks for the weirdly shaped ones in Schermerhorm, Bwog’s Token Preprofessional takes a retrospective look at his nine-to-five summer, and a prospective look at where we go from here… 

You’re a rising senior back at Columbia for one final go-around with a flexible schedule, available co-eds, an indulgent social life, and a license to liberally “explore and experience” the world around you. The life of the modern undergraduate is amazing for a variety of reasons, but while bathing in its sunset, we seniors become increasingly aware of the rapidly engulfing “real world” that fills in the growing shadows with responsibility, poverty, and a sobering reminder that you’re not special.

In general, you’ve:

A) Spent the summer at an internship in a field that you’re kind of excited about, but only in a “thanks to this job offer, I won’t be moving back in with my parents after graduation” type of excitement. Honestly, though, you accepted that as the point of the internship long ago. You worked your ass off to land that offer, and if finding a big-boy job the old fashioned way is any harder, then the market must be really bad. Settling for immediate entrance into the “upper middle class” is going to be good enough for now. Fulfillment, you assert, is for people with inherited wealth or artists. You’ve got debt to pay, and hopefully a spouse and kids isn’t too far off in the horizon.

You’re coming back to campus with some newly acquired (mastered, as far as your resume is concerned) skills. You’re a Powerpoint wizard, Excel is your bitch (Look, mom! No mouse!), and, if your firm is “cool,” some solid D in foosball. You author status updates and outline “next steps” with an admirably efficient, yet uniformly droning and neutral, prose. You now have a sixth, Spidey sense for when a meeting has gone too long, and you get a little tingle down below from a streamlined, actionable conclusion.

As a result of your temporary acclimation to the office environment, you have a decently flushed out opinion about the Heat versus the Thunder and Lebron versus Jordan; you can explain why Federer is the greatest man to ever hold a racquet; you’re ashamed of Jonah Lehrer, even if you have always enjoyed his articles; and you conveniently took the moderate position, arguing that modern women definitely can’t have it all, but they that they should. You totally think McKayla Maroney deserved a perfect ten, and you secretly think that she’ll be a perfect 10 in one year, two months, and twenty-nine days.

You discovered the virtue of a monthly metro card.

You probably have a full-time job offer, and you probably told your parents with pride and confidence, “I’m relieved to have this as insurance, but that won’t stop me from pursing other offers and taking advantage of all the career resources available at Columbia.” You probably won’t. You reason that it’s your senior year, and you deserve to enjoy it. Senior night is totally worth compromising on your future.

B. You wish the above were you, but you were underemployed as an intern, and must play the job market game another time around.

C. You’re independently wealthy, which ironically means that you aspire to be poor. You wear clothes from a thrift store to your unpaid, publishing internship, and you live at home—on the Upper East Side.

D. You’re delusional. 53% under/unemployment means that no one cares about your overeducated opinion about income inequality or the subtlety of Mitt Romney’s racism. Blue pill; red pill.

 businessman via RandomApples

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20 Comments

  • i am ashamed says:

    @i am ashamed that i chose to attend a school also attended by people like the author

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous eh, it might be a little distasteful, but it is a fairly self aware look into class at columbia, which is a pretty damn big deal

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous does Bwog need a hug?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous my answer to the real world is to say fuck it and stay in school forever. i’ll start off with grad school and a phd. Then after two or three postdocs, I’ll go to med school, then law school, then veterinary, then dental school. After all that I’ll probably be old enough to retire.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous trying to be the first guy to break 5 Million in student loan debt?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous you mean realists?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous my life. thanks bwog

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Anyone else think that this Rhea Sen business would be taken a lot more seriously if she were instead a he?

    1. like says:

      @like no

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous the only difference is that no one would be able to relate it to barnard then.

      then again, maybe they would. this is columbia after all…

  • me says:

    @me McKayla Maroney and I have the same birthday. Thanks for the countdown update.

  • Optional says:

    @Optional I was a little surprised until I got to the end.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous this is so dumb

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous weirdly and unpleasantly classist. I didn’t expect this from you, bwog.

  • Loaded Lux says:

    @Loaded Lux YOU GON GET THIS WORK

  • CC'13 says:

    @CC'13 what is this wack shit, class in america is not like choose-your-own-adventure

  • Not to be the typical Columbia prude... says:

    @Not to be the typical Columbia prude... …but this article, despite its multiple—and perhaps honorable—attempts to prevent itself from being limited in scope, is too much from the perspective of a white, (upper-)middle-class heterosexual male to represent psychically the whole Columbia undergraduate community (if that were even a possibility to begin with).

    The references to men’s professional basketball and tennis—alongside phrases like “Excel is your bitch,” “you secretly think that [McKayla will] be a perfect 10 in one year, two months, and twenty-nine days,” and “no one cares about your overeducated opinion about income inequality or the subtlety of Mitt Romney’s racism”—are all indicators of this particular (and narrow) sociocultural standpoint.

    At least what we have here is rather unique in its content and tone, but I remain a wisher for a Bwog post whose uniqueness stems from its authorial positionality—that is, a Bwog post speaking from the place of a non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, non-upper-middle-class thinker. Even if the “typical Columbian” thinks similarly to the author of this piece (which is probably not the case, because there might not be any “typical Columbian,” and the Columbia community features a multitude of unique voices), Bwog would do well to feature posts that give its readers something else.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous (1) so write something

      (2) pieces of writing have to be from a point of view; if they spoke for everyone everywhere are everytime, they would say nothing. the author doesn’t claim to speak for humanity.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous What a weird critique!

        (1) The OP did write something. The post to which you responded! Plus, who’s to say s/he hasn’t written tons of stuff? Do you know who the OP is?

        (2) The OP seems to agree with you that “pieces of writing have to be from a point of view.” i think s/he means with phrases like “I remain a wisher for a Bwog post whose uniqueness stems from its authorial positionality—that is, a Bwog post speaking from the place of a non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, non-upper-middle-class thinker” and “the Columbia community features a multitude of unique voices” that there are lots of viewpoints that exist in our community but that are scarcely featured on Bwog. Furthermore, “humanity” is not what the OP thinks should be spoken for—the Columbia community, in all its diversity, is. That requires voices other than the so-called “typical” (white, male, etc.) to be heard. Finally, you seem to discount the fact that there could be a singular “non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, non-upper-middle-class” voice. What you seem to be saying is that each of these “non-” categories exists on its own and not in conjunction with some or all of the others. Indeed, there are white, male, heterosexual thinkers who are not “upper-middle-class,” and there are white, male, upper-middle-class thinkers who are not heterosexual, etc., but there are also, for example, working-class black (female) lesbian thinkers and working-class Asian transgendered thinkers. The OP appears to recognize this fact and, importantly, is asking for their voices to be heard in our community. You might not realize any of this, in part because these people and their voices are silenced. Wouldn’t we all benefit from hearing them?

  • delusional? says:

    @delusional? don’t you mean disillusioned?

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