Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Microstory 1347: Ivy Creep

Ivy Candidate: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, sir. I’m very eager to learn from the absolute best of the best.
Ivy Gatekeeper: Well, that’s nice to hear, but you haven’t gotten in yet. I have been looking over your application, and it’s...
Ivy Candidate: What?
Ivy Gatekeeper: It’s not bad. It’s not particularly interesting. I mean, nothing in your essay really stands out. We get a lot of applicants—more and more each year—and there’s a reason for that. Well, there are many reasons. First, the human population is growing. Second, loans are increasingly easy to obtain, giving many students a false sense of security when it comes to paying for school. Third, people are just smarter. As a species, we’re smarter than we were before, and with the advent of the internet, knowledge is more accessible than ever. Suddenly, you don’t have to be born a genius, or come from the best grade school district. It’s leveled a lot of the playing field. Unfortunately, this means that, if you end up with a four-point-oh GPA, you’re not special anymore. Nonetheless, we have to have standards of some kind. We have to have some way of filtering people out. Otherwise, all we could go on is who happened to click the submit button the fastest.
Ivy Candidate: I understand. Is there anything I can do to stand out, or is my fate inevitable?
Ivy Gatekeeper: [...] There would have to be something you tell me in this interview that you didn’t mention before. You would need to give me some reason to advocate for you. Is there anything about your life that you think makes you unique, even if it’s only unique when coupled with something you’ve already told us?
Ivy Candidate: Hm. I guess not really. I know you want me to fight for this, but I don’t have a sappy story. I wasn’t raised by a single mother with a single leg. I didn’t pull my neighbor out of a burning building. I’ve been privileged, and can’t say I had to overcome adversity. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked my ass off. I sacrificed a lot of things so I could study, and participate in extracurriculars, but I see your point that there are plenty of people who have done the same thing.
Ivy Gatekeeper: You’re from Hillside, Kansas, right? I hear HillU is a pretty good school. Did you apply there?
Ivy Candidate: I have a few safety schools, but not Hillside. I want to move away from home, so I’m not tempted to rely on my family. The point of college is to prepare for a self-driven life.
Ivy Gatekeeper: I would agree with that. I actually know someone who used to work at Hillside University. He’s here now; teaches philosophy.
Ivy Candidate: I think I know who you’re talking about. Professor Ivy Creep, right?
Ivy Gatekeeper: Yes, you know him?
Ivy Candidate: He’s my uncle. But, ya know, when I say uncle, I mean...
Ivy Gatekeeper: He’s a family friend, not actually a parent’s sibling.
Ivy Candidate: Exactly. We haven’t spoken in a long time. How is he doing?
Ivy Gatekeeper: Oh, he’s...good, I think. He’s enjoying his new job.
Ivy Candidate: Oh, good. I’m happy for him.
Ivy Gatekeeper: Yeah.
Ivy Candidate: Yeah.
Ivy Gatekeeper: [...]
Ivy Candidate: [...]
Ivy Gatekeeper: So, he’s an asshole, right?
Ivy Candidate: Right!? Oh my God,  I’m glad you said something.
Ivy Gatekeeper: He acts like he runs this place.
Ivy Candidate: He’s always been that way. He talks down to people, and when he’s not the smartest person in the room, he literally ignores the person who is.
Ivy Gatekeeper: Yeah, I’ve noticed that.
Ivy Candidate: Yeah.
Ivy Gatekeeper: So, look. Anyone who has survived Professor Ivy Creep deserves a shot at a real life. If that’s not overcoming adversity, I don’t know what is. I’ll put in a good word for you, okay? I can’t make any guarantees, but I won’t let your application be the only thing that defines your college career.
Ivy Candidate: Oh, wow, thank you. That’s so amazing. You want me to be interesting, I promise to go crazy in college.

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