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MORADI | Disappoint Your Parents

Last week, after a phone conversation on what I wanted to do after I graduate ended inconclusively in tabled arguments and passive-aggressive goodbyes, my dad texted me the median income of a political science Ph.D. “About the same payscale as an operator” at the company where he works, he wrote. “You will study hard for LSAT and then we can discuss.”

It hurts knowing it would be literally and metaphorically easier on his heart if I had just gone all-out for law school or had read Cracking the Coding Interview back when I had the chance. Anything would be better than my current trajectory of understably worrisome directionless half-assery. My father is painfully practical and intensely loving, with the kind of radical sensibility of so many other Asian immigrants in America. After all, Baba already took his risks: He started a revolution and fought for it through a horribly bloody war.

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PARK | Letter of Recommendation for Okenshields

Last week, in a moment of hunger and desperation, I went to Okenshields. Like most members of our campus, I had written-off this meme of a dining hall. Thanks to my pecuniary-minded friend, Gabe, I put some faith in “A Night of Chocolate and Intuitive Eating.” [For those who know what “intuitive eating” means, I would love some clarification because nothing about Okes is intuitive]. For the uninitiated, Okenshields is a medieval-style dining hall at the heart of campus named after a Lord of the Rings dwarf, guarded by the happiest man at Cornell, filled with gothic chandeliers boasting an sundry assortment of salad, grains and Asian food with walls covered in black and white photos of Cornell’s history and 2000s throwbacks booming from the ceiling. And they take swipes.

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DANBERG BIGGS | Once I Was, Now I Still Was

We always think that we should be able to tell a linear story about ourselves. Not a story anyone would ever want to read; nothing heroic, or profound, or notable, or worth carrying around in your bag to read on the bus. Not a story to tell for other people. But as far as I can see, telling a story gives life direction and intentionality, at least in retrospect. Things happen with an internal logic that makes them ultimately worth it.

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LIEBERMAN | Funny Girl

The funniest people I know are women, which might seem strange given how overwhelmingly male the profession of comedy seems to be. The top ten highest paid comedians in 2017 were nine men and one woman — Amy Schumer, who also happens to be exceedingly white and exceedingly problematic. Performers at the White House Correspondents Dinners, keeping with this trend, have been historically male as well. Not to say that funny women haven’t graced the stage; recently we had Wanda Sykes, Cecily Strong and, this year, Michelle Wolf. So, we are getting somewhere in terms of equality.

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PINERO | Kanye West Never Cared About Black People

I unfollowed Kanye West after the first MAGA tweet. Without hesitation, I jumped on the bandwagon calling for his “cancellation.” I spent most of Tuesday looking like the white guy blinking meme as I watched Mr. West word-vomit all over Twitter and call four hundred years of chattel slavery “a choice” on TMZ. This column was going to be a scathing condemnation. Instead, my curiosity led me to watch ’Ye’s extended conversation with Charlamagne, also released on Tuesday. Over the course of a virtually uninterrupted 105-minute stream-of-consciousness, I came to see things differently.

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AHMAD | The Problem With Kanye West’s ‘Free Thinking’

Last week, many of us felt the harrowing effects of what can only be described as a national tragedy: the downfall of Kanye West. As someone who has loved Kanye’s music since sixth grade, viciously supported him through the ups and downs of his beef with Taylor Swift, praised the diversity of his (albeit insanely overpriced) fashion line and even forgave him for his completely nonsensical rant on Ellen, I was, to say the least, disappointed when I saw his Twitter tirade of painfully unrelenting support for Trump. I will admit that when I first read the Tweet That Started It All, I wasn’t immediately horrified or shocked. In fact, I chuckled at the unironic use of the phrase “dragon energy,” and I couldn’t really argue with Kanye’s claim that he “loves everyone.” I told myself that this was just another inflammatory statement tweeted out for favorites, tabloid headlines and “Kanye West is so crazy” reactions. Simply put, I assumed he just said it for attention.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | Mental Health Promotion And Suicide Prevention: How Is Cornell Supporting Students?

 

Over the past year, many people have voiced concerns about student mental health, including criticisms of the university’s clinical services and efforts to prevent suicide. Wait times for counseling services are among the challenges we at Cornell Health have been working to address. With university support we have added new therapist positions which has shortened wait times and also increased the diversity of our staff. Access to mental health care is critical, because treatment works and many students are in need of it. It’s also important to reach students who may be reluctant to walk through our doors, so our Let’s Talk program places counselors in locations around campus for walk-in consultations.

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GOROKH | Nerve Gas, Spies and Secret Briefings

Following politics can be frustrating. You see decisions made on the basis of private motives and private information. Whatever efforts you make in inferring the missing pieces are often thwarted by the fact that some actions are motivated by nothing but plain human stupidity. So instead I kick back and stream the new season of Homeland (which involves plots about as unrealistic but a whole lot more entertaining than those on CNN). But then sometimes, especially when it comes to my homeland Russia, I just can’t help it.

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HUBSHER | Talks Most Says Least

As a senior in high school, I was vying for the “Class Clown” superlative but I would not be that lucky. In addition to “Class Gossip,” I also won “Talks Most Says Least.” It is pretty fucked up that this award had been approved by the administration. Four years later, I am about to graduate college. I am more proud of this superlative than I am of many of my other accomplishments. Looking back now, I can see that this label was and still is a common way to dismiss women with opinions, but this is me reclaiming it.

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BENITEZ | Hearing Dick Cheney

Imagine a bunch of chairs had been set up for a speaking engagement, and someone had tried to destroy as many of them as possible to decrease the number of people that could attend the engagement. (Assume too, for the sake of argument, that the number of chairs determine the possible audience size: the grass on which they are set up is wet and muddy, so people wouldn’t just be able to sit on the ground, and the speech will last for a tiring while, so standing is off the cards too.) For all intents and purposes, this appears to fall on the spectrum of silencing, albeit of a seemingly benign sort, and I suspect most of us would agree. When it therefore came to my attention that some students were last month taking as many free tickets as possible to Dick Cheney’s originally scheduled speaking engagement, I couldn’t help but be a little miffed. Such actions admittedly come from well-intentioned political activism. However, not only does it take advantage of the Cornell Republicans’ good will, but, more troublingly, it demonstrates the increasing political sectarianism within American society.