October 31, 2011

Letter to the Editor: We are still the 99 percent

Print More

To the Editor: Re: “Rethinking Occupy Cornell: Why You’re the <1%,” Opinion, Oct. 31Are we really the 0.4 percent?Disregard the fact that many of us at Cornell come from families that might not be so well off. And ignore the fact that many students — yes, even with an Ivy League education — are going to graduate with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Yes, let’s ignore all that for a minute and imagine that Cornell undergrads are truly blessed to be in the top 0.4 percent (The Ivy League represents 59,035 of the 14.4 million undergrads in the nation).The question is, if we are in the top 0.4 percent, have we won? Should we step back and let things keep happening the way they have been? We have accomplished our goal in life: We have been accepted to an Ivy League school. We have made it into the top one percent. And now we can revel in it, we can relax and live the good life. What the hell do we have to complain about?This is not what OWS is fighting for. We are NOT fighting for the opportunity to be in the one percent. Some of us get an education for reasons other than self-interest. We get an education to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just in a small way.What’s more, many of us will graduate with limited opportunities to get a great job right away. It may be easy enough for those who want to get a job in investment banking or financial consulting; that sector is booming right now. But Cornell’s motto is “Any Person . . .  Any Study” — not “Any Person . . . Investment Banking.” More college grads than ever leave college without a full-time job offer. They resort to internships and temporary or part-time work, and the search can take several months for a job offer. And yes, this applies to Ivy League graduates as well. A depressed or unstable economy affects EVERYONE, in every profession. However, in our case, the financial district is still on top.The point is, we are going to graduate with an Ivy League education but are going to have a hard time finding a job in field we want. We could play the game and get ahead. But if we want to follow our passions, then we are the 99 percent.Denise Robbins ’12