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A Columbia dropout’s goodbye essay, published in the Columbia Spectator, is getting a lot of (sometimes angry) attention in the blogosphere and on campus (h/t Ivygate).Hannah Shaper would’ve graduated from Columbia in 2015. Instead she dropped out of the school, as she said attending the institution was like having sex with a cactus that looked like Brad Pitt. (“But excuse me: Cactus sex is unrighteous. Get me the hell out of here,” she writes.)
Bottom line: Shaper said that Columbia is a business, not a community, and one less student (no matter who they are) isn’t going to mean anything to the institution.
Society can go fornicate itself for stamping your forehead with the seal of approval if and only if you follow its path. For better or for worse, this mysterious nonentity that we call Columbia University caters to societal approval.
That’s not necessarily bad, but it is limiting. If, like me, you once thought self-validation might come from a GPA or a diploma or a customised Vineyard Vines Columbia lion-print tie, think about what you really want out of this life. Columbia doesn’t give that to you—only you can. If you feel like Columbia doesn’t care about you, that it would be no different if you left, you are right. Anyone who thinks otherwise, please send me a sample of what you are smoking.
What Shaper is trying to say is worth talking about — Are Ivy educations and institutions actually worth it? Does the social clout that comes with attending a Harvard or a Penn actually mean anything or enrich an individual?
More than that, as the commenters below Shaper’s essay pointed out, some people can’t afford to drop out of school and forget what the man has to say regardless of how happy they are. They simply don’t have the resources.
So do you just leave if you’re unhappy, or do you play the man’s game and stick it out?