Do As I Say Not As I Did: Unsolicited Advice For Rising Second Years

By Cat Duncan ’14

Whenever possible, avoid all human interaction.  You only have two years to be alone with your thoughts.

Treat the Booth Facebook group as your own personal eBay.  If you are looking to sell something, whether it be the clothes off your own back or the digital key to your friend’s virginity, this is absolutely the right forum.  Also, as you have a captive audience, don’t be afraid to experiment with new voices.  Stream-of-consciousness?  Joyce tried it and so should you.

Be aware of irony.  MPP is anything but “select”.

Frequent the Gleacher Computer Lab.  If you like crazy, this is a veritable gold mine.  From the man who audibly snoozes and drools at the back right Bloomberg terminal to the lady with a cone on her head who speaks to herself to the other lady who rants about ageism, the alumni regulars are a real treat and a constant reminder that, 20 years from now, you can literally do whatever you want.  The world is your (sometimes ageist) oyster.

Don’t take a recruiter’s name tag, drunkenly impersonate him or her and discuss a firm’s “hate hard, love hard culture.”  It may ruin your chances of building a career at Deloitte.

After a night out, treat yourself to the fanciest sit-down dining experience in the city: Bijan’s Bistro.  This place has EVERYTHING: white tablecloths, misplaced pretension, chicken fingers and snauce, couples on a formal date at 2am, what appear to be prostitutes, and a gnawing undercurrent of despair.  

Don’t panic when Cris Shepard’s emails become increasingly desperate as the year progresses and you are jobless.  What starts as a gentle nudge to “attend a Stressbuster lunch” becomes an invitation to “attend a group cry session” by Spring Break.  Remember: it’s all part of the cat-and-mouse game that you play with Career Services and, as was the case in the Cold War, brinksmanship is always the solution.

Skip TNDC and go to Rite Liquors.  It is half liquor store, half bar and a whole party.  If you are yearning for some real talk after all of the BS of recruiting, look no further than Division Street’s capital of malt liquor, lottery sales and quiet desperation.  

Don’t become complacent.  Whether it be the back row of a classroom or the loft of the Metra, always position yourself with a view of the entire battlefield.  If Marlon C. Lynch has taught me anything, it’s that none of us is truly safe.

Find a hobby.  Make friendship bracelets, take knife classes, engage in knife fights, learn the choreography to West Side Story, go to Puerto Rico (that lovely island), attend karaoke night at Chick-fil-a, dust off your Skip-It, affect a Cockney accent and work at a flower shop like a modern-day Eliza Doolittle.  Find something to do with your time because the alternative is alcoholism.

Cat Duncan, author, thanks ChiBus for realizing her dream of becoming a published author despite the fact that this piece lacks “thematic continuity.”