The Recent College Admissions Scandal Was No Surprise To Me

The Recent College Admissions Scandal Was No Surprise To Me

Disappointed but not surprised.

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I always knew that the college admissions system was corrupt. If you had the money, you had a way in. And no, I don't just mean the pay-off-a-coach-to-get-your-kid-in way in.

Unfortunately, there are and always have been lots of other methods to take advantage of the system if you had the money. However, the reality of the situation is that not all of the perpetrators were Lori Loughlins or CEOs with a boatload of money. In a sense, my family, too, is guilty.

No, my parents did not bribe anyone to let me into USC, nor did they donate a fat wad of cash right before I applied. However, I did go to a college-preparatory school for 13 years. Being a private school, my grade's population never surpassed 90 kids, and my classrooms were on average around 15 students. Throughout my 13 years in private school, I acquired a solid foundation that would later give me a leg up when applying for college.

The small classroom sizes fostered my academic curiosity and intellect. This intimate learning experience benefitted me extremely, and I was able to fully utilize my academic potential. If I struggled with a concept, I could easily meet with my teacher outside of class, or ask my many questions in class. Additionally, if there was a subject that I simply didn't get (like physics, for example…) I was fortunate enough to be able to get a private tutor.

Another privilege that came with private education was the authentic teacher-student relationships I had. At my school, we called our teachers by their first names- sometimes we even got coffee with them outside of school. They were like our mentors. So, when the time came to apply for college, most, if not all, of the students had at least one or two teachers to ask for a letter of recommendation. I've heard that these letters would sometimes be the difference between a student's rejection or their acceptance. I also had a fantastic college counselor from school who wrote a letter of recommendation and made calls to colleges on my behalf. Just going to the school I went to gave me a leg up, as my school had many strong prior relationships with big-name schools around the nation.

Through my years in private education, I was prepared for the standardized testing that would come in my later high school years. Starting from kindergarten, my writing, reading, and math skills were conditioned and developed. This helped me score a high-percentile score on the SAT. And on top of this prior advantage, I also received thorough 1-on-1 SAT tutoring outside of school and also took multiple mock-exams in a proctored location through the same program. I was also able to receive therapy for my test-taking anxiety.

It could be said that the world was, and still is, my oyster. Not because I'm some extremely deserving genius, but because of the situation I was fortunate to be born, or rather, adopted, into. Because of the advantages, I grew up with, I was able to fully achieve my academic potential as a kid. This not only helped me get into my dream college but also fueled my passion for learning as well as dreaming.

So, while I may not be an Olivia Jade, I must acknowledge the immense privilege that has allowed me to reach this point in my life. And for that, I will be forever grateful. But even though our "situations" may be completely out of our control, that doesn't mean it's okay to be ignorant, elitist, or narcissistic. I wish everyone could be given the same shot as the other guy. But unfortunately, the world just doesn't work that way.

The truth is, if you have money, you will inherently have more opportunities. You will be able to get into more prestigious colleges. You will be on the path towards higher-paying jobs. And likewise, you will continue the cycle of wealth and capitalism that has existed for decades.

So while we can choose to hate or damn the wealthy, we should instead be asking ourselves, "What can I do to make the most out of the opportunities that I've been given?" Because even though some people may pay, cheat, or lie their way to the top, the honest, longer route is extremely viable and in fact, preferable. Some people will get there faster, and that's just unfortunate. But that's just the way the world works.

But this should not discourage you-- remember that there's not one way to become successful, nor is there one way to be able to lead a happy, fulfilling life. So dare to be bold. Strive for authenticity and humbleness.

You'll be amazed to see how far that will take you.

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10 TV Shows That Can Replace 'The Office' On Netflix By 2021

"NOOO. GOD NOOOOO."

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Netflix has done it again. Created a mass panic. But this time the reason is not that "Friends" is being taken down or renewed for a giant price.

No, this time it is much worse.

Netflix has said in just TWO short years, it is likely NBC will be taking 'The Office' down. I know, it is unthinkable. What else are we suppose to rewatch a hundred times and quote endlessly? You cannot simply take Michael Scott off of Netflix.

The best thing to ever happen was for Netflix to put "The Office", they made it popular again. And you @ me on that. But now they are removing it. I guess we will just have to watch other shows now.

Find other shows on Netflix to watch and to fill the void that NBC is creating for us.

1. There are none.

2. There are none.

3. There are none.

4. There are none.

5. There are none.

6. There are none.

7. There are none.

8. There are none.

9. There are none.

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"Russian Doll" Is Just a Groundhog of Another Color

Natasha Lyonne stars in the new dramedy that plays off a familiar trope.

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I'm mostly writing this article to prove a friend wrong.

Haha, what? No, no, no I'm not that petty…okay maybe a little bit. But he's wrong! He's really, really wrong! But maybe we agree on what we're talking about?

What? You want me to go back to the beginning? I can't—

Oh, alright.

So, last week Thursday I had the Netflix original, Russian Doll, recommended to me by no less than three people in a span of four hours. It was good! It was so good! That was the claim they all made, anyways. And they're my friends, after all. I trust them with my TV-watching habits.

So, I tuned in. That very night. I watched.

The first episode was good…and that's kind of it.

Don't get me wrong! In a world rife with uninspired content that doesn't quite hit the mark, it was good. But it wasn't overly so. Not in the kind of preach to the heavens way that my friends had approached me with.

But I shrugged it off. I kept watching. The episodes were only about a half hour, after all. Surely, it'd get better. Surely, it would reach soaring, post-Icarian heights that man could only dream of. Going where none had gone before.

But it didn't. It merely stayed good.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's no small feat. There's plenty of shows that start off good and get the better of themselves as time goes on (looking at you Supernatural). Even as the latest season of Black Mirror is showing us, nothing lasts forever.

So, I tip my hat to you Russian Doll. To your darkly tragicomic self, a buddy comedy taking direct inspiration from Groundhog Day.

Wait, Groundhog Day?

Yes, that's where my friend is indelibly wrong.

A solid purveyor of the concept that nothing is that original anymore, my friend asserts that apparently Russian Doll is distinctly different from Groundhog Day. Which is utter bologna.

I am going to describe a piece of media content in this paragraph: A snarky, stressed out, contemptuous fella finds themself stuck in a time loop. Every time they die, the loop resets, putting them back to the exact same singular moment that they first heard the gentle, drifting melody of a slightly too-upbeat pop song. They try to escape the time loop by fleeing, by dying, by doing literally anything they can. That's when they realize it's futile and that they'll be stuck forever, perhaps even erased from existence, unless they can become a better person.

Now, which product did I describe: Groundhog Day or Russian Doll?

Truth is, I can't tell either.

That's not to say there's nothing distinctive about Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne is wildly funny and I loved the idea of her being trapped with a "partner in crime" in Charlie Bennett's Alan. The setting is obviously different too (New York vs. Punxsutawney) and the character's drug use provides for some trippy fun, there's no denying.

But in theme, tone, and a lot of jokes, Russian Doll can't escape the shadow of Groundhog Day.

Hell, even in this review in which they try to avoid talking about Groundhog Day they can't avoid talking about Groundhog Day.

And for good reason! Groundhog Day is a brilliant movie that condensed a brilliant concept for a generation. It's such a common staple of contemporary culture that the military widely uses the terminology "Groundhog Day" in its slang. Christ, even Congress has preserved it for all time in its library.

The influence is inescapable and anyone who says differently doesn't know what they're talking about.

Now, does that mean Russian Doll is unoriginal? Or that nothing Hollywood makes nowadays is all that original? No, of course not. To offer a slight concurrence with my friend, everything really does derive from something. One has to look no farther than Jason Campbell's monomyth to realize the stories that we tell are rarely "original" in the lofty ways that we ideally think about them.

But the well-worn trope of living in a time loop, unable to escape via death, only via some higher power or greater good, is so thick in Russian Doll that it's similarities to Groundhog Day are particularly noxious. The show would not be evaluated in the same terms today if it had been released in 1992, forever and a day before Groundhog Day premiered. And that matters.

But Noah, if nothing's original how come you hate Russian Doll more than, say, Black Mirror? Isn't Black Mirror just a reimagining of The Twilight Zone?

Well, firstly, I never said I hated Russian Doll. I happen to like Russian Doll very much. And Black Mirror certainly can't escape its own history, which is necessarily inclusive of The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling's masterpiece series perfected the spooky, thought-provoking anthology series like nothing else before it. Of that there's no denying.

I would contend, however, that Black Mirror does not rely on a singular trope to form its core. While Russian Doll isn't Russian Doll without the die, live, repeat gimmick, remove any similar singular element from Black Mirror, say artificial intelligence, and the show still stands. It moves and breathes of its own accord. While both shows are (mostly) masterfully written, Nadia Vulvokov simply plays the drug-addled redhead to Murray's weatherman Phil Connors if they both don't die and live again.

So call me petty. A hater. A downer. A Debbie downer even. Bottom line? Russian Doll is great. Just not too great.

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