Posts Tagged ‘alienation’


For me, the only thing worse than the feeling that my “top-10” diploma is completely useless is the fact that I can’t convey why I feel this way to people I meet on the street. The reality is that very few people go to private schools, let alone top-tier universities that require vast personal sacrifices of time, money, and effort. And consequently, there are very few people who can appreciate just how significant these sacrifices are, let alone relate to the frustration of a recent grad who just sank $200K and four years of his life (actually, closer to eight years if you include all the pre-college preparatory work that most Ivy League applicants pursue) into his education. They simply don’t get it, and how could they? It’s not their fault for being a part of “normal” society – it’s our fault for having bothered with any of this “elite schooling” BS from the start.

The other thing that’s frustrating is the embarrassment of admitting that you’re unemployed with an Ivy League degree. A lot of folks still believe that if they could get a degree from Harvard or Stanford, they’d have the world by the balls. To a lot of the general public, an Ivy League diploma is like solid gold – and if you have one but still can’t find a job, well, there must be something really wrong with you. They think you’re a crybaby and a loser, someone who couldn’t cut it in spite of having endless advantages. And it’s quite hard to explain the reality of the situation at times, especially if you’re face to face with a 23-year-old who’s making six figures without even having gone to college (true story).

Sigh… Let me reiterate to all you would-be or soon-to-be Ivy Leaguers: post-college life is a good bit lonelier than it would be if you attend a state school. Unless you choose to work as a professor or do some other work on the campus of your alma mater, be prepared to be surrounded by folks who have no understanding of your experiences and no ability to empathize, even if they’d like to.


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