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OP-ED: How Can I Pursue A Career In Academia In A Cool, Ironic, Cool Kind of Way?


Photo Credit // Jett Flaxman

When I got into Penn I was like, “sick.” Now I can major in Economics and work in tech or consulting and make more money than my parents and be a chad. But when I got here, after taking CIS110 and ECON001 and looking around me, I knew something was wrong: there were way too many dorks. Nobody was “doing satire” or “being ironic” or “wearing cool clothes.” This one guy did kind of have a Mark Zuckerberg in the Social Network thing going on, with the sandals and baggy shorts in the winter on his way to absolutely destroy the midterm curve, but even then he didn’t totally click with me.

So I shifted focus. I enrolled in some urban studies courses and BAM! It was kind of cool. Like just a little bit though. I certainly wasn’t learning any tech or consulting skills, but the classes were marginally more interesting. My professors were all like, “ughhh we are sad ughhh the world is lame ughhhh.” That really resonated with me. Now, I’m keeping with it, and wondering where this enchanting path will take me. 

The main problem with my new course of action is kind of the same as the problem with my last course of action. I guess it’s a problem I confront just about every day, whether it be in school or with friends or alone. How do I go about this in a cool, ironic, laid-back, not-caring, vibey kind of way? 

I guess one way would be to write for some shitty comedy outlet a few times a week and just delegitimize everything I do in class. Like spend 20 hours on a research paper where I make some cool points and do a good job and then just be like “haha urban studies is for babies” in Under the Button and ruin it all in 30 minutes. That could definitely be a good way. Maybe I could also dress really weird and put quirky stickers on my computer so that even when I’m confronting unprecedented segregation metrics I’m doing it in a chill way. I think this could work. Probably sunglasses too, just hella sunglasses.

I don’t know where this path will take me, but I’ll be damned if I don't unapologetically pursue a passion in an ironic, cool manner. Thanks for reading.