As Andrew Morse ‘96, a distinguished media executive, wrote in a sentimental 2011 Sun piece, “I still have such great reverence for The Cornell Daily Sun.”
In an exercise of deep contrast, in November of last year, one Reddit user wrote: “Why do these kids treat every article like a blog post. I’ve never seen a university paper so unprofessional and simply hard to read.” Another wrote in 2018: “In my opinion 90% of the newspaper is irrelevant to every day student life, uninteresting, or intentionally provocative.”
During my time writing for the paper, I have been fortunate to receive favorable reviews from faculty and other University stakeholders. As a reader of the other columns, I have also found a number of columnists discerning and thoughtful.
Essentially, everything we know about being “professional” involves being more white. Speak perfect English. Have straight hair (forget about colored hair and tattoos, that’s just horrendous, even if your tattoo is connected to your Native American heritage). Be a specific body shape and size (when the metrics of BMI were already connected to white bodies without consideration for groups like Latina women, who sometimes have naturally curvy bodies). Don’t take breaks. Grind and grind. Eating on the job could get you fired, even though eating is a natural part of being a human.
For students from non-traditional majors looking to build transferable skills for the professional workplace, choosing classes can be overwhelming. Two Cornell undergraduates and two recent graduates offered tips for ways to gain transferable skills for the workplace through Cornell’s many courses.
As I’ve been applying to internships, I’ve started to think a lot more about the idea of professionalism. It is such a confusing concept to me because it presents the idea that everyone has to act and look a certain way in order to be taken seriously. Professional is often associated with someone who dresses in business casual clothing, speaks eloquently and appears to be overall put together. There are so many limitations that comes with this professional standard such as no hair dyed an unnatural hair color, facial piercings or visible tattoos. It provides yet another set of expectations people are supposed to meet as they go into their careers and it makes me feel really uncomfortable.