BARAN | For What It’s Worth

In all of my columns, I’ve sugarcoated the truth. Whenever I’ve talked about bad things that had happened or ugly truths, I added a big fat BUT. Yeah, life kicked my ass this semester, BUT it was a learning experience. I continually fail to live up to my expectations for myself, BUT I’ll do better next time. I’m tired of the “BUTS.”

BARAN | Letters to the Writing on the Wall #3

I’ve come to the shaky conclusion that we probably won’t know true happiness when, and if, we feel it. We may catch a glimpse of it in hindsight, grab at it in the present moment or feel as though we’re always falling just short. But uncertainty lurks in every epiphany. 

BARAN | Letters to the Writing on the Wall #2

These words may mean little to you. But hopefully, they mean something to just a couple people here at Cornell, sitting in Zeus or in Libe Café reading a discarded copy of today’s paper. Hopefully, those people will get up, walk outside and smile at the nervous-looking student on the Arts Quad. Hopefully, those people will go to dinner that night, or next week, or next month, and plop down next to the kid sitting alone.

BARAN | Letters To the Writing on the Wall

My favorite study spot is a cozy nook on the fourth floor of Uris Library. It has fantastic views of Ho Plaza, the Slope and Cayuga Lake.It’s a good place to study. But try as I might to work efficiently and without distraction, my eyes drift to the left of the desk, drawn by the writing on the wall.The white brick wall is festooned with chicken scratch, symbols and all other manners of writing, scrawled in utensils of every variety. There are obscene jokes and gibberish, inspirational messages and echoes of crushed dreams. The white wall is the hidden page in every Cornell yearbook — it’s  been there since the wall was last painted over, and it will remain until it’s painted over again. This article is the first in a series of letters I intend to write to these anonymous Cornellians.

BARAN | The Artificial Imperative

Instead, what matters is that we work productively towards meaningful goals which we set. And therein lies the beauty of this theory: there is no need to compare our goals to those of anyone else’s. The static benchmark of the survival imperative has disappeared. The benchmarks for our individual goals are completely context-dependent.

BARAN | And On the Seventh Day, God Watched Mediocre Comedy in Bed

As my roommate came out of the bathroom, I voiced my thoughts. “I don’t even think SNL skits are all that funny. Why have I been watching them on repeat for the past two hours?” Trevor turned towards me, sloppily knocking two cups off my table as he did so. His eyes swam, then focused on me. “It’s escapism,” he slurred. “God said to rest on the Sabbath.” 

BARAN | Memories of Growing Up Together

When we live with people, it’s easy to take their presence for granted. Bonding and communication are effortless. We update each other on our lives while toasting bagels for breakfast and recap the day during evening dish duty. The people we live with know about the good book we’re reading and the tooth that’s been bothering us for the past couple days. They tag along to the movie we’re seeing and show up to our hockey game because we mentioned it last week. Housemates are intimately involved in each other’s lives by association, with minimal effort from either side. 

BARAN | All Men Should Get Vasectomies At Birth

Intuitively, everyone would benefit from the widespread acceptance of men undergoing vasectomies before sexual maturity. Both sexes would be freer to focus on developing stable lives before even thinking about pregnancies or babies. When a couple does decide the time is right, all they would have to do is ring up a urologist.