Tag Archive: competition

  1. Resume Revelations

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    If it’s true that stress is seasonal, I’d have to say mine peaks around this time every year. The temperature is dropping, it gets dark by 5 p.m. and I’m trudging, unmotivated, through these exam-packed weeks between fall break and Thanksgiving. (Shout out to all those professors who insist on sneaking in an extra midterm.) Still, the real reason I’ve been especially anxious since early November is not the weather or the workload, but the onslaught of information sessions about fellowships, summer opportunities and — it scares me to write this — career choices.

    Constant reminders of the looming, expectant future have even been infiltrating my social life. Scrolling down my News Feed last week, Facebook suggested that I attend the “Google Information Session,” an event that promised to discuss “business, cool things, or doing something that matters.” So a few nights later, I found myself in a packed classroom in WLH. I wasn’t surprised by the large number of students who had shown up — some even dressed in full business attire — because, well, it’s Google. But looking around the room at people sitting on desks, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and overflowing out the door, I couldn’t help but feel tremendously intimidated. A representative from Google stood at the front of the room, rattling off attributes that the company expects in its applicants: creativity, a keen business sense, initiative. To keep things light, she asked a few trivia questions. Addresssing one respondent dressed in a suit and tie, she asked whether he’d ever been involved in a startup.

    “Actually, I’ve started three,” he replied, without missing a beat.

    Facebook had claimed that “dress code [was] completely casual,” but Mr. Three Startups wasn’t the only one dressed as if this were the most important business meeting of his career. After being pushed up against a chalkboard by another suit trying to make his way to the front of the room, I realized that while I may have better manners, the suits likely have better resumes — and are probably way more qualified for a summer position at Google. Really, it seemed like everyone in the room, everyone at Yale for that matter, was more qualified than me. There were business owners in the crowd, and I was now the girl with a giant chalk stain on the back of her sweatshirt.

    It’s not just Google that’s intimidating, either. At Yale, every opportunity draws a ton of interested students, and every student probably has a killer resume. When I sat down to update mine, I’ll admit I had a minor panic attack on common room futon. What new, cool thing had I done since the summer? How could I convey the significance of my summer internship spent reporting on patterns of rainfall in New Jersey? Why did my life appear so unexciting and unimpressive on paper?

    With my cursor hovering over my current GPA, I reached for my suitemate’s Hershey’s milk chocolates. My stress-eating only fueled my worried thoughts. Everyone at Yale is a good writer. Everyone manages an on-campus job in addition to their five or six credits and long list of extracurricular activities. Everyone was valedictorian in high school. Everyone has a good relationship with a professor who might be able to get them a paid internship. I paused to throw out the pile of wrappers that had accumulated beside my laptop. Taking a breath, I realized something: maybe everyone sort of misses their glory days in high school, when life was just less competitive. Maybe everyone is a little intimidated by everybody else.

    I wasn’t naïve when I arrived at Yale. I knew I’d be surrounded by incredibly smart, incredibly talented peers — big fish. This makes competition inevitable, especially when people start applying for spring break trips, thinking about summer opportunities and planning for fellowships. A competitive atmosphere isn’t always bad. It’s probably what motivates me to go to a Google information session in the first place. But what competition shouldn’t do is make anyone feel small. We all got into Yale, and there are plenty of people  out there who are impressed by that simple fact in itself.

    Of course we can’t rely on Yale’s prestige alone to get us a job — Mr. Three Startups certainly isn’t banking on that. But we all have potential, because Yale encourages it in each of us. Perhaps my seasonal stress causes a distorted self-perception. I don’t always have chalk on my sweatshirt, so maybe I should stop pilfering my suitemate’s chocolate stash.

  2. New Haven vs. Cambridge: Who wins?

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    Want to hear a joke?

    Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Although Harvard and Yale’s football players have yet to strap on their shoulder pads and hit the field, Cambridge and New Haven have been battling all week in other forms. The Boston Globe printed an article titled “Smackdown: Cambridge vs. New Haven,” which placed the two cities in an Ivy League brawl. While The Globe made some legitimate points about the Elm City, its fundamental conclusion that the dispute would result in a tie is misguided: New Haven is clearly superior.

    “The best thing about Cambridge is New Haven is but a train ride away,” Yale spokesman Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said.

    As a general matter, New Haven is the place to be.

    Take it from Kate Young GRD ’16, who was an undergraduate at Harvard.

    “I think New Haven has a lot more character to it than Cambridge does,” Young said. “Harvard Square is sterile and commercialized.”

    The Globe’s article looked at nine categories: Lying Statues, Famous Music Club, Sports Bar, Dinner on Mom and Dad, Souvenir, Hamburger, Art Museum, Best Dinosaurs Without Tenure and Historic Moment. In the first four of these items, according to The Globe, Harvard reigned superior. The second four belonged to Yale, and the last category was called a tie.

    There are several flaws in The Globe’s reasoning. First, the fact that Toad’s Place is even listed as a “Famous Music Club” is an automatic win for New Haven.

    As for the lying statue, Harvard rightfully owns this category: Harvard students do tell better lies. Just ask the entire class of “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.”

    University Properties Director Abigail Rider disagreed with Harvard’s argument that Cambridge is superior because of its available shops and myriad of tourists, though she admitted that New Haven tourists have “balked” at offers of a free Yale tattoo while waiting for a tour of the University.

    The Globe gave one food category each to New Haven and Cambridge. New Haven was named the hamburger champ and Cambridge won the “Dinner on Mom and Dad” category.

    But New Haven dominated the hamburger scene, thanks to Louis’ Lunch. Billy Bartley, the general manager of the Cambridge burger joint that was competing with Louis’, said he was not impressed with the choice. Though Louis’ may have invented the hamburger, Bartley said Mr. Bartley’s perfected it.

    “A caveman invented how to cook, but I don’t want to do it that way,” he said. A century ago, when the hamburger sandwich was invented at Louis’ Lunch, people were still going to the bathroom outside, he added.

    On the other hand, the owner of Louis’s Lunch, Jeff Lassen, was honored to be named number one.

    “We’re proud to be a part of that tradition, and be included in the occasion,” Lassen said. “We stand tall with New Haven and Yale.”

    The Crimson most notably went wrong in the category that it created: football.

    The Crimson asserted that football is “the most important comparison” and that history shows Harvard is the “clear victor.”

    Other than being patently untrue, as Yale leads the overall series 65-55-8, it is not the most important measure of Cambridge or New Haven. Like any other metropolis, these cities are defined by people, and this is where New Haven has the clear advantage.

    “New Haven has kind of a more small town feel,” Steffina Yuli ’16 said, “It’s more homey.”

    Jennifer Bimonte-Kelly, one of the seven grandchildren of Frank Pepe, who founded New Haven’s famous Pepe’s Pizzeria 87 years ago, certainly feels that way.

    “What do I love about New Haven? It’s like I’m part of the family of New Haven,” Bimonte-Kelly said, “The people in the streets, Libby’s, Consiglio’s, and even Sally’s, we’re all a family.”

    As for the Yale-Harvard rivalry, over the years she has seen plenty of Yale-Harvard weekends, and each is full of liveliness.

    “When it’s the Yale-Harvard game, it’s the buzz, there’s a different kind of energy,” she said. “Even the night before, it’s strange, it’s fun, it’s crazy.”

    Whatever you want to call it, the Yale-Harvard weekend is upon us.

    Let the best football team win, and let the best city always be the Elm City.