Writer examines grad school process

By on April 10, 2003

On Sunday, a friend and I took up Brad Corrigan’s invitation to come to Harvard for the Veritas Forum.

Corrigan is one of the members of the band Dispatch and currently he is out on a solo tour. He stopped at Quinnipiac on Friday and capped off Faith Week by playing a great show in the cafeteria.

The Veritas Forum is Harvard’s version of Faith Week. Veritas is of course Latin for elitism. Ha! Just kidding, it is Latin for truth, which makes the last line not only witty, but also coolly ironic.

Corrigan, my friend, and I went to see a debate on the existence of God between atheist Dr. Quentin Smith and Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig. The outcome of the debate here is not important, but I will say that Craig won handily.

My short trip to Cambridge hammered home some of my long held assumptions about Ivy League schools. The moderator at the forum was sporting a bow tie and candy-striped shirt. He also made a point to over enunciate each word and threw things in like “of course” and “that is to say” to make points instead of backing up those points with facts.

I find it helpful to use these techniques when referring to Greek mythology. Everyone knows a little something about Greek mythology, but most people do not know it well enough to correct you even if you are making it up.

Example: “Of course I felt like Testiclees, the nephew of Zeus, who wouldn’t when purchasing new bow tie, that is to say.”

The average intellectual, and maybe even the above average intellectual, knows, of course, who Zeus is and they are pretty sure he had a nephew but are terrified to look ignorant and question the Testiclees reference.

I had a friend from High School who went to Harvard. Not long after we found out which colleges we were off to, she and I were at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

As we were leaving, she walked up to the glass wall next to the door and pushed it. I froze in amazement; that is to say, I could not believe what was happening.

She looked confused and then pushed again. She then turned to me and said, “How come the door won’t open?” As she was saying that, a gentleman walked through the door to her right, at which point the dim light in her head flickered and she understood why the wall would not respond to her pushing.

You’re probably shaking your head and wondering how she got into Harvard. Her parents went to Harvard. Need I say more?

Speaking of backward elitist Ivy League schools, there were a number of seniors here at Quinnipiac who applied to Yale for graduate programs. I was among the group who applied.

One student, by the way, has one of the highest grade point averages for English majors and worked for a semester for Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.

After getting our formal letter rejections we were left with some difficult questions. Were we rejected from the moment we walked onto to the Quinnipiac College campus four years ago?

What did we have to do to get in? I will concede, I do not own a bowtie or have a parent who attended Yale, and to my knowledge, neither does the other student.

However, not getting in could be the best thing that ever happened to us. My rejection letter is hanging on my refrigerator. It has become my new motivation, my holy grail. My success does not hinge on a degree, but rather on my competence and drive.

I will be come a blue-collar road scholar and blaze my own trail. Now instead of going to graduate school, all I want to do is jump in my car, blast a little Dylan or Charlie Parker. But the radio only blasts Avril Lavigne from here to LA and back.

Op/Ed Editor Joe Reynolds and I made a pact that whoever becomes President first will make the other Secretary of State.

My visit to Harvard reminded me of the movie Good Will Hunting. One day I will take some presidential stationary and slam it up against the window of the admissions office and say, “You like apples? I’m the President. How do like them apples?”

Well, Joe, our success may be a “Slow Train Coming,” but no matter how “Complicated,” “I’m with You.”


About Eric Marrapodi