May 7, 2017

SCHULMAN | That’s My Schtick and I’m Sticking to It

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I’ve read a lot of farewell columns in the past four years. I started thinking about mine freshman year, during my first semester at The Sun. As a freshman, I thought writing a column in the student newspaper would make me a campus celebrity. I wanted to use the platform to get recognition for a speech I wrote in high school during tryouts to be class speaker. I wasn’t chosen to be class speaker, and I was salty.

Surprisingly, writing a column did not make me a campus celebrity, and it won’t give me recognition for the speech. I still wanted to write about the speech though. I’ll give you the paragraph version. In one of my classes, someone wrote a poem that I really liked. They weren’t the best student. The speech was about how this person should keep writing even if they did not get recognition for it. Although I wish I told them how I felt, they should enjoy writing regardless of other people’s encouragement.

As a write my final column, I’ve been reflecting on my time at The Sun.  Looking back, I articulated why I continued with The Sun for so long in this speech. I don’t get a lot of recognition for my writing. Most people who write for The Sun get little recognition but work really hard. I joke my writing only gets read by my mom, and the associate editor.

These days, I actually prefer people don’t recognize my writing. My goals have changed a lot since freshman year. I no longer want to be a campus celebrity — I want to be an economist. I signed away the next five years of my life to pursue a doctorate. Writing in the student newspaper does not help a graduate school application. These days, economics is about mathematics and statistics (and in my opinion computing). If anything, my cringeworthy writing from past could’ve hurt my application.

Just like the poet from my high school, I’ve gained a lot from writing though. This platform taught me how to articulate myself. By studying economics and computer science, I’ve spent a lot of time working on problems with clear solutions.  Effective writing is a much more open-ended problem. Writing this column has helped me with those types of problems. I’ve grown a lot writing this column and it’s been a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter who recognizes it.
So, to editorialize with some unwanted advice as I say good bye: do things because you enjoy them and you learn from them, not because you want recognition. You never know. Just like that poem in high school, maybe someone appreciates it and didn’t tell you. That, and I should probably thank  the four associate editors I’ve worked with. We all want a little recognition and I’m glad one person reads my column every week. So, that’s my schtick and I’m sticking to it. Hopefully, you enjoyed the ride. I know I have.

 

Eric Schulman is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at eschulman@cornell.edu. This is the last edition of Schulman’s Schtick.

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