Editor’s Note: This post was written by Seniors David Hoyt and Leslie Martin. Neither of them are ready for graduation.
Over the summer the class of 2014 received a purple postcard in the mail advertising something called “Taste of the Real World: A Dinner & Lecture Series for Kenyon Seniors.” As the card explains, this is “a program designed to prepare Kenyon senior class students for success after college.” Let’s pause there for a second. Didn’t we go to college thinking it would prepare us to be successful after college? Did we miss the memo that this was an optional feature, like floor mats in a new car, and not part of the standard package?
While it’s disturbing that Kenyon seems to think they haven’t actually taught us to survive on our own, on the other hand, maybe they’re going a little overboard. Maybe we haven’t been formally taught anything of value, but we still can’t be that helpless. We were beginning to panic when we realized that our courses in the Theory of Comedy and the Habsburg Empire weren’t actually sufficient to navigate the big scary world out there, but then we looked at the actual list of sessions and realized that Kenyon actually has taught us all we need to know — just in less formal ways.
- Networking & Wine Tasting: I’m great with networking. I don’t remember my friends’ birthdays, but I remember which ones have fathers who are rich and connected lawyers, and I’m always sure to be extra nice to them. As for wine tasting, Franzia comes in red and white. What more is there to know? If you want to be fancy, get a rosé, or just play it safe and go for whatever is second cheapest.
- Conducting a Job Search: One of the most important part of a successful a job search is using the Internet to your advantage and getting your name out there. No Kenyon student should have a problem with this. Allstu has taught us how to artfully showcase our intellect and creativity. Nothing says I’m a quality hire quite like a mass email to the entire student body with the text “SEALS.” (I forgot what it actually said, was it seals?)
- Negotiating Salary & Benefits: It’s called ADD/DROP period. I get mine. Yes, it might have been a little intrusive of me to run down a professor right after I spotted her through the window of MidGrah (R.I.P.) enjoying a breakfast burrito, but I learned a variable life lesson that day: persistence. And in the words of Tupac Shakur: “Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine?”
- Cooking 101: Peirce has been my kitchen for the past three years and has served us all well. When you’re learning to cook, observing someone cooking is just as useful as actually preparing the meal yourself. And really, I’m sure using the panini press a couple of times a week has taught you all you need to know about cooking. For one thing, we all know that paper prevents cheese from sticking to the panini press. Cooking skillz: check.
- Dinner Etiquette: What, Apple Fork is not a suitable dinner game?
- Managing your Finances: I know close to nothing about finances or how to manage them, but I do know that if the presenter at this talk doesn’t speak in a vaguely British accent, I’m leaving. Unless there’s free food.* And if you can calculate how to split the bill between six friends at the VI, even though one had that expensive imported beer and you had to discount your roommate the five bucks you owed him, you can definitely refinance a house or set up a Roth IRA.
- Working with Difficult People: Kenyon students are weird. Going here is literally a four year exercise in working with difficult people. I witnessed the other side of Kenyon’s niceness when I tried to leave the DKE champagne formal early one year. Huge mistake. Apparently, saying “excuse me” in a moderate tone was not enough to get my point across. I really hope there will be a discussion on how to gracefully leave a party without getting pinched by a drunk girl. (Caveat: as annoying as Kenyon people can be, our experiences abroad and in internships have taught us that other people are usually far worse.)
- Onward & Upward: The Daily Beast already thinks we’re pretty far up there.
*No aspect of “Taste of the Real World” is free. If you wish, you may sign up for the $160 program at kenyon.edu/studentactivities. Considering that our apparently useless educations here have a sticker price of $200,000+, this might actually be the best bargain in town.