Jacqueline Groskaufmanis is a sophomore studying English and Government in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her posts appear on alternate Tuesdays this semester. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes I wonder why students who want to go into government, advocacy work or international relations are running around campus in suits for recruiting, bending over backwards for jobs that many openly admit that they have no interest in pursuing. I’m then reminded these corporate jobs actually pay, and they pay well — and that alone is more than can be said for many internships in government, advocacy, or international relations. About 50 percent of college students work at an internship or co-op position at some point during their college careers. Of those students, 47 percent find experience in positions that are unpaid. To us, this may sound innocuous, but it is worth noting that among those students who worked at for-profit companies, one-third weren’t paid, raising a tricky issue of compensation.
When I was a freshman, every reputable national newspaper had a 40 year-old writing about how to “do college” correctly and effectively. And while crumbs of their advice were useful, I also felt like the prescriptions for how to act and perform were more stressful than anything else.
When I was seven, I thought it would be a cool idea to try going off of the highest diving board at the pool. I don’t like heights and didn’t really know how to “dive” at that point. But my siblings were doing it, so I was going to do it too. But when my turn came to jump the however-many-feet, I froze. I climbed all the way up the ladder, walked to the very edge of the board, and realized I just wanted to climb back down.
One of my favorite columnists, Jonathan Capehart, wrote a piece last Friday on President Trump’s first 100 days in office, titled “An Appreciation.” In it, Capehart says that Trump’s presidency hasn’t been as bad as he expected, and states that “[Trump] is responsible for the greatest surge in civic participation in half a century.” And while I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that exchanging Trump’s leadership for civic participation is a worthy trade, I think Capehart is spot-on in identifying the growth those who didn’t get what they wanted last November. We’re coming together now because we have to. I wish we didn’t have to, but at least we are.
In a world where every breaking news alert seems to be another addition to the garbage fire that is our political climate, I think it’s impossible to delegate our attention perfectly. Pay attention to things that matter to you, pay attention to things that matter to other people, and pay attention to as many things as you possibly can.
Part of the beauty of college is that, in some cases, we get to learn for the sake of learning. Not every class includes conventionally marketable skills, but marketable skills also aren’t deemed the only valuable currency in academia. That being said, I think there is a notion that someone can’t be an intellectual while being pre-professional; that worrying about jobs and salaries in addition to worrying about academics is somehow an example of selling out, or being small-minded.
I think the “we all need to talk to people we don’t agree with” conversation has been beaten to death from every angle, but I also think it’s really true, and can be hard to do here at Cornell. I’ve always known that Cornell’s student body and faculty are overwhelmingly liberal, but I only recently took a look at how the composition broke down in numbers. If I’m being honest, I’ve never cared about the political leanings of my professors because I haven’t given it much thought in the first place — most likely because they’ve always been subtle or consistent with my own. If you’ve ever read this column, you know that I’m a pretty liberal person. In my time at Cornell, I’ve found that there’s something comfortable and satisfying about hearing my convictions confirmed in the classroom.
I don’t think I really understood the insidiousness of “fake news” until I read and believed a piece of it myself. Last weekend, I was in Montreal with other Cornell students for a conference when Trump’s executive order on immigration was signed and confusion turned into logistical panic. The people running the conference went from committee to committee and addressed the ban, explained that some people might have difficulty getting back into the United States and offered their support if anyone found themselves stuck at the border. It wasn’t dramatic or political, it was to-the-point. And still, for obvious reasons, people were freaked out.
Whether you’re in favor of or against the message of the Women’s March, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably at least heard of it. On Jan. 21, millions of people across the United States and across the world joined together to make a statement, reaffirming a commitment to equality that should exist regardless of who the president is. The world gave Trump a chance to speak during his inaugural address, and gave the Women’s March a chance to respond the next day. Even if your reaction to the march is negative, the fact that you are responding at all means that the protesters have been heard.
If you’re here for an in-depth thinkpiece on what happened two weeks ago, you’re in the wrong place. I don’t want to give you my hot take on how Hillary missed the rust belt Forgotten Man, or talk about Trump supporters who are boycotting Hamilton and writing “Trump” on their Starbucks cups. By this point we’ve seen all of this time and time and time again on our Facebook newsfeeds. Instead, I’m going to talk about the less sexy side of politics. More specifically, the side that requires people like you and me to step off our Cornell campus and out from behind the comfort of a column, and into the world that we think and learn and write about everyday here.