May

4

Senior Wisdom: Jack Dickey

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Jack Dickey

Jack Dickey

Tonight’s Senior Wisdom: Jack Dickey, the guy who broke Manti Te’o

Name, Hometown, School: Jack Dickey, Guilford, Conn., CC

Claim to fame? Deadspin writer, English major. Spent senior winter break proving that a famous football player’s famous dead girlfriend never existed (Bwog: see above link). Still managed to finish my thesis on time.

Where are you going? Probably some far-flung part of Brooklyn? I’m not really at peace with it yet. Eventually–give it 15 years or so–I’ll be going to a saltwater farm in Maine. But before that I have to make enough money to buy the farm, or at least enough to convince the woman brave enough to join me there that I’m not a deadbeat. Which is why, upon graduation, I’m joining the booming field of journalism full-time.

3 things you learned at Columbia:

  • 1. Don’t be a jackass. I’ll confine myself to the school-related forms of jackassery, since you should have figured out the rest already. Interrupting someone who’s raised her hand and waited her turn: That’s being a jackass. Using words when you don’t know what they mean: That’s being a jackass. Not doing the reading for a seminar: That’s being a jackass. Messing around on your iPhone during a seminar: That’s being a jackass. Interrupting someone to talk about readings in words you don’t understand when you haven’t done the work but have spent most of class on your iPhone: Well, you know already. (Read all of that in the style of Rex Ryan in Hard Knocks.) Now for the horrible confession. Before Columbia, I was, if not a full-blown jackass, a sloppy student always looking for the next corner to cut. Boo. The other side of things, while a little more demanding, is far peachier. The best part? On the odd occasions where you feel you just have to be a jackass, you’ve earned enough respect to be one!
  • 2. Your professors and peers are super-smart. So many people at Columbia are amazingly bright and hard-working. I went to hoity-toity prep school and spent my first year of undergrad at hoity-toity liberal arts college, and neither was in this galaxy. One English seminar I took on a whim junior year—a course offered for the first time, and by a first-year professor to boot—blew my mind so thoroughly that I’m still plastering over some cranial holes. There were a couple of undergrads in that class who were sharp enough to lead English seminars on their own; I was happy enough just to be along for the ride and slobber out the window. So go somewhere! To the land of Wordsworth and Byron, or to the American 1960s, or wherever. College may not wind up being The Best Four Years Of Your Life™, but (here especially) it’s not something to grit your teeth and muddle through, you know?
  • 3. Long walks are the most cost-efficient form of therapy you’ll ever find. New York is a walker’s city. Riverside Drive can be your pal and confidant; West End, too.

Back in my day…. We had to guess when the next 1 train was coming. Deciding whether to disembark and wait for an express at 96th Street: AGONY.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I spent one Thursday hanging out in Tampa with Gary Sheffield (for Sports on Earth) and still made it back in time for Nick Dames’s 9 a.m. seminar on Friday.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: @River Hall: You’re hot. [Haven’t been since September.] Single? [Definitely.] Drinks? [Not really.]

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? The Deadspin offices are in Nolita, and on a quick walk down Mott Street one can find both of the aforementioned at unbeatable quality and competitive prices. If you’re ever lucky enough to set foot in Di Palo’s, and you try their mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, you will have a tough time answering this question, as I do. Ask me again after I’ve left New York and can find only Velveeta and Land O’Lakes! Then I will be resolute.

One thing to do before graduating: I dunno… become a Marxist, I guess? You can always renege on this, and go into banking, or volunteer for Rand Paul’s 2024 presidential campaign, or hunt the working poor for sport—whatever it is idealists do when they grow up. No one will ever have to know how soft you were in college. But you have the privilege of spending your undergraduate education at a fancy college in New York City, of all places, during the Great Recession. You kinda have to think about class.

Any regrets? Lots! I’ve been stuck on the same “Things I Need To Do” Post-It for 14 months. (And this is to say nothing of the things I have done that I wish I hadn’t.) But I’ve got, what, a couple weeks? I’ll be able to get to it all. Part of me does wish I had another year here, though, and not because of all of the people I could meet or classes I could take, although those are all nice. Really, I’m just not ready to retire from floor hockey.

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30 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    that was awesome.

  2. Alum'11

    Number 1 was spot on

  3. Jaded CC '12

    So well done.

  4. CC '13  

    Was the class mentioned in #2 taught by Anahid Nersessian? The rest of the answer makes it sound like it was and I can only reiterate that her British Romanticism seminar is amazing. If you have the chance to take a class with her, do it. Best class I've ever taken on a whim at Columbia.

  5. Oops  

    "Not doing the reading for a seminar: That’s being a jackass."
    #Sorryimnotsorry

  6. Anon

    This was a lovely senior wisdom.

  7. senior  

    Minus 'Not doing the reading for a seminar', that whole part was amazing

    • A.  

      The thing with not doing the reading in seminar is that when people still talk and take up space in discussion WHILE not having read, it makes the discussion painful and useless. So yeah, we've all had days (or weeks, whatever) when we just couldn't do the reading for X class -- but please, please, please just shut up (or limit your contributions to things you're pretty sure are useful). We'll all be grateful, and your classmates won't have to sit there and pretend you're not spewing bullshit about things you haven't read.

      Also, if you're in a less than 5-6 person class, please please please read or otherwise it gets really fucking painful really fast (why yes, I am in a really small major, and yep, i'm bitter).

      tl;dr: your performance in seminar affects other people, so please be mindful of how you can in fact be a jackass to others by not doing the reading.

  8. Anonymous  

    You don't *really* have to think about class. If you walk on the east side of Amsterdam, you won't even see the homeless who sleep outside of John Jay.

  9. Fellow Transfer Student

    What was the liberal arts college he went to freshman year?

  10. BroCrush Level  

    Over 9000. You sound like you'd make an awesome friend; well done you, good sir.

  11. Terrence Fowler  

    Jack is a passionate, smart, no-bull-shit dude. Really an all-around great guy.

  12. HH  

    F R E E P A U L I N E

  13. Anonymous  

    solid SW

  14. Anonymous

    Isn't spending significant amounts of time researching someone else's romantic life being a jackass though?

  15. Anonymous

    that guy wasn't even good at floor hockey

  16. Between the Acts, Harcourt Annotated Edition Solidarity Corner  

    So great to laugh/think with you in class this semester, Jack. Wish you all the best.

  17. Hey now  

    Not all seminars are created equal! Some professors are jackasses too, for assigning absurd and unreasonable amounts of reading as if your entire course load consists of their class! COME ON.. there are (human) limitations!

    and ningdomk

  18. Anonymous  

    To think that an undergrad, yourself or others, are capable of leading a seminar is jackassery. It's pompous Undergrads (like him and others who think that way) who foolishly believe they're smarter than other students and even professors even though they haven't received the intellectual training and deep contextualization of the theories and texts they're exposed to during their college years. Sorry to burst your narcissistic, "I'm smarter than you bubble," but you're not as or more informed as your professors or even some of your classmates. You have a general knowledge about whatever you've learned during your academic career..and FYI I'm an undergrad senior. I've encountered so many students during my time here to seriously think they're smarter than other students and their professors. I.m not saying we're not as smart as our professors because every academic goes through college. It's kind of like the old cart before the horse. You have learn how to walk before you can run in a track meet, sweetheart. You have to become a grad student and read the entire book, not just that one intro chapter the professor assigned you to read, before you think you have a greater and deeper understanding of the grander implications of the text.

    • Lol

      Why you mad bro? This Senior Wisdom is decidedly not entitled.

    • I can't wait

      Until you become a grad student and attempt to read everything assigned to you in your pursuit of "a greater and deeper understanding of the grander implications of the text." Good luck with that.

      • Anonymous  

        Thanks for your sarcasm! I actually am excited about becoming becoming a grad student and reading every text I'm assigned. Isn't that the point of a $250,000 IVY LEAGUE education? Sorry, but there's nothing noble about excusing yourself for not having read every text you were assigned when you were a student. I get the whole lack of time argument. But there's something grander about reading everything assigned and beyond.

  19. Jaded Graduate Student

    More amazing advice!!! Love you wise senior undergrads.... :D

  20. CC '12 (read - nostalgic alum)

    It's fair to say that this is the best senior wisdom I've had the pleasure of reading. Congrats Jack, and best of luck.

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