Dear reader, before you proceed,

I think it fair to forewarn

That although my editor did accede 

To an idea that was borne

From inspiration by Vikram Seth,

Dr. Seuss (the luminaries

To whom I owe a debt)

The columns of my contemporaries

Might just be a more pleasant read. 

As I’m sure you have already perceived

The shackles of convention have been freed

And my audience has been deceived

To hear the unsolicited advice I disburse,

With the help of trusty verse.

 

 

But why? You may ask

And you’d be right to question

My enterprise, a convoluted task

Whose only purpose is to break convention

But as you’ll slowly see, 

In my proselytizing about taking a chance

I can only buttress my credibility 

By taking one myself. You’d look askance 

At more advice from an addled teen

About “growing pains,” college life

And experiences of quarantine

If the fruits of my arduous strife 

Was more, mere purple prose

Aptly described as simply verbose. 

 

 

So, what do I mean by taking a chance?

At Yale, I often find myself torn 

Between the opportunity to enhance

My ailing LinkedIn and adorn 

My professional qualifications,

Using classes and clubs to achieve that goal;

Or laying steady foundations

of an education that will feed the soul. 

Medieval history, Sanskrit philosophy and thought

That a pre-med, pre-law, or finance bro

Might not use a lot.

I would counterargue their futility, although,

An opportunity to experiment has been bestowed

Upon us, by our temporary Yalie abode. 

 

 

If I don’t join a cappella now,

If I forego the cheese tasting society,

In 10 years, I will look back and regret how

I squandered enjoying the variety

That is — in hackneyed terms — the spice

Of life. My inner voice, anxious and fraught

Repeats to me this daily advice: 

“Your twinkling teens and twenties ought

To be the days in which,

Through immersion in activities sportive,

You scratch our inherent itch,

To sample life’s offerings; renounce the abortive

Quest to only plan for what lies ahead

Nurture the soul with passion instead.”

 

 

Such saccharine sentiments on the tongue are heady 

As you ruminate the fairy-tale 

Notion of feeding the soul. Instead, you might be ready

To use these four years at Yale

To plan out a path, relatively free

Of impediments, gearing towards a career

That few colleges contemporary 

To Yale can engineer

For each student who so chooses

To loot the cultural, intellectual riches

And apply its various uses 

To fortify their britches 

With alumni contacts, internships. All that’s very well, 

since to professional success these undeniably propel.

 

 

Who can fairly criticize

A young adult’s budding ambition,

As wide-eyed, we begrudgingly acclimatise 

To the gradual, inexorable attrition

Of opportunities for capable

Professionals graduating in hordes,

Captivated by corporate America’s inescapable,  

magnetic pull towards

Stable, permanent jobs. It’s a tough world

Out there, and only getting tougher

As you leave college, hurled 

Into the hunger games, but rougher. 

Especially, for the bulldog who did decide

To put worldly ambition aside. 

 

 

Then what should one do? As you’d guess, I am wont 

To end my aimless prattle  

With a recommendation I vaunt 

As entirely unoriginal. This battle

For your time, unceasingly extreme 

Will undoubtedly deprive you of sleep,

If you dare to dream 

That you’ll be able to keep

Your sanity without sacrifice. 

A friend told me, each semester do one thing

That you might abandon after trying thrice,

But something new, even arbitrary which will undoubtedly bring

Some respite to a schedule jam-packed 

With attempts to bag a professional contract.

 

 

If you find one too little, do four, six, eight 

Don’t heed the opportunity cost of time 

When you’re having fun. You can compensate 

For too much enjoyment, by miring yourself in the grime

Of “summer opportunities” that suck you dry,

Turn your break into a hollow shell 

Of the rejuvenation that a lazy July

Would unequivocally compel. 

Ponder if you’re more likely to regret

Eschewing a course on spirituality and physics

In favour of a class that will whet 

Your intuition for more stylised statistics,

One of those might change your worldview,

With the other, more “marketable skills” will accrue.

 

 

This piece is my pudding’s proof that I do as I say. 

Much to my editor’s lamentation, 

Writing an op-ed (a loose term) in verse does convey

(I hope) the spirit of experimentation,

That I so wholeheartedly support

For my fellow peers, friends and foes,

In this matter, I could not purport, 

To feed my own soul, if it lay in repose

Shrivelling, oppressed by my attempts to repress

This poetic impulse that has now taken flight. 

Even if my piece does not impress,

At least I’ll sleep in peace at night.

I’ll leave you now, in peace to guess,

If I’m grossly wrong or completely right. 

PRADZ SAPRE is a first year in Benjamin Franklin college. His column, titled ‘Growing pains,’ runs every other Monday. Contact him at pradz.sapre@yale.edu

PRADZ SAPRE
Pradz Sapre is a first year in Benjamin Franklin college. His column, titled ‘Growing pains’, runs every other Monday.