Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

If I have to Declare a Major, Make It Ultra-Awesomeness

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Hi, Jimmy. Please close the door.

I’ve been reviewing your essays for college admission, and we have a lot to discuss. As your guidance counselor, I feel a particular responsibility to make sure you have all the necessary information. But I’d like to begin by telling you what you might do differently.

You clearly are passionate about your opinions, and that comes through very well; colleges relish robust discussion of controversial issues. Where you would do well to alter your approach, however, is the whole subject of facts.

Facts, you see, are the lifeblood of real discourse – do you follow me, Jimmy? Good. It does not impress a college admissions board when an applicant asserts that Columbus should be credited with discovering America’s Funniest Home Videos. Nor that Hitler and Gandhi spent summers together in Vancouver. Or that the Titanic hit a giant iceberg lettuce. These are basic errors, Jimmy, errors you can avoid with just a little bit of fact-checking.

Yes, I know you feel pressured, Jimmy; who doesn’t? It can be a real challenge to complete these applications on top of all your regular school assignments and extracurricular activities. But that doesn’t excuse you from doing it right. Would the team coach say it’s OK for the quarterback not to make an effort to hit the open man because he’s got so much homework? Colleges don’t like to see applicants try to take an easy way out, and certainly not by inventing facts of their own.

Well, if that’s the case, Jimmy, you’re going to have to come to terms with something: playing video games and spending time on Facebook are not exactly “critical” activities. Leaving them out of your life for a little while will not result in your death or social impairment – somehow, the human race managed without either one for eons. I encourage you to see what happens when you disconnect the TV and Xbox in your room for a day or two.

As for the issue of facts, please do not plead ignorance. Wikipedia might not be the best source of information, but it is a very good starting point, so no one will object to looking things up there and using the source materials to which they refer. Oh, don’t look so surprised; celebrity bios are not the only thing it’s good for. This is called research, Jimmy, and colleges expect you to know how to do it. They don’t teach it to you; it’s one of the skills you were supposed to pick up during your time here, instead of, oh, figuring out the most offensive ways to misspell the principal’s name in bathroom stall graffiti.

I see we have an entitlement complex here. Jimmy, the world does not owe you admission to a school, be it a “party” school, as you seem to desire, or any other institution. The world owes you exactly nothing. This seems to offend you, as your parents have never disabused you of the notion that you can have the best of everything, with minimal or no effort on your part. The later you wake up to reality, the harder it will be to adjust. I suggest you do it now, before you finish college and discover that the world does not owe you a job, a good long-term relationship, well-behaved children, and physical or economic security.

Are you threatening me, Jimmy? That’s rich. If your father were as all-powerful as you think he is, we would not be sitting here reviewing your application; you wouldn’t need to complete it yourself. Your sense of entitlement seems to know no bounds. The truth, Jimmy, is that you can take my advice and do a bit of work, or keep doing things as you’ve always done them, and wind up as nothing more than a wannabe in a dead-end job, such as a high-school guidance counselor.

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Written by Thag

February 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

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