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Education

Graduating From Regret

Graduating From Regret

This one comes to us from Lex Booth:

With only two more weeks of undergraduate existence left on the calendar, I can’t help but reflect on my experience in Charlottesville (and hash out some last-minute plans to squeeze out as much college as possible).  Perhaps because ”there’s still time” for me to cross a few things off the list and add a flourish or two, this exercise mostly involves lots of ‘what-if’ or ‘should have’ hypotheticals that tend to contradict each other: ‘Maybe I should have taken advantage of my classes more…’ vs. ‘Why did I spend so much time in…

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Too Great of Expectations? Being Ordinary in a Culture of Extraordinary

Too Great of Expectations? Being Ordinary in a Culture of Extraordinary

This one comes to us from Emily Newton:

Dickens had it right long before Brené Brown did, but she certainly dusts his ideas off a bit.

As an English teacher attempting to ignite within my students’ brains interest in something other than taking selfies, Yik-Yak, or lulu-lemon yoga pants, I find it important to see the value in a text myself before asking my students to read it. We recently finished reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a novel which I likely Sparknote-d my way through as a freshman in high school (gasp). I just didn’t like it. So I felt a bit of trepidation as we…

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Andy Bernard to Give Graduation Speech at Cornell University … Ever Heard of It?

Andy Bernard to Give Graduation Speech at Cornell University … Ever Heard of It?

It has been a Mockingbird tradition to highlight worthy graduation speeches amidst the vast sea of snoozers. As the spring commencement season approaches, I want to point out that Ed Helms, the actor who played Andy Bernard on The Office, will be giving a speech at Cornell University’s graduation on May 24. This is noteworthy because Andy Bernard, the sycophantic airhead with anger-management issues, always brags about how he went to Cornell (’93). “Ever heard of it?”

Helm’s upcoming speech is bound to go at least semi-viral just by his showing up at Cornell. But it’s even more likely to go viral…

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An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

This letter from the editor opens up our first issue of The Mockingbird, our quarterly magazine which has just arrived in mailboxes! To subscribe to The Mockingbird, click here. 

“Tell me which kinds of excesses fascinate you, tell me which kinds of excesses appall you, and I will tell you who you are.” –Adam Phillips, “In Excess”

If Phillips is right, and excesses are the ways we are revealed, then there’s plenty to say about what’s been passing through my Newsfeed. Just this week: Kanye West commissions a Kim Kardashian pop-art portrait from one of Andy Warhol’s cousins in Arizona….

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Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

Despite my instincts to steer clear of self help literature, I recently read Stephen R. Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Can anything good come from the self help genre? To my surprise, yes, especially this excerpted section below on “Scripting Others” from Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw (basically, self care). In the following section he talks about something akin to imputation—the act of attributing to someone a trait not otherwise natural to themselves.

At some time in your life, you probably had someone believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. They scripted you. Did that…

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Under Pressure on Modern Family

I was recently thinking how ABC’s Modern Family just isn’t as good as it used to be (for me) and that I kind of watch it out of duty nowadays. And then, BAM! They produce probably one of their better/best episodes ever. It revolves around high school anxieties, SATs, and college admissions: “Under Pressure.” The theme is certainly timely since this is the time of year many high schoolers start hearing back from college and university admissions offices. The unquestionable hero of this episode? Claire Dunphy. You have to watch the entire clip below to find out why:

Another Year Ends: Best Teacher Ever, Instagram Envy, Tyson on Kierkegaard, Elf Code Origins, Johnny Football, DFW Cobainification, Atheist Gospel

Another Year Ends: Best Teacher Ever, Instagram Envy, Tyson on Kierkegaard, Elf Code Origins, Johnny Football, DFW Cobainification, Atheist Gospel

1. Grab your kleenex, cause here comes the one way love, ht JZ:

2. The NY Times lobbed one straight over the plate last Sunday with “The Agony of Instagram,” a look into “an online culture where the ethic is impress, rather than confess.” It’s fairly one-sided of course–Instagram is just as much an outlet for inspiration and creativity as it is identity curation and law–but still, a few of the soundbites are just too tempting not to reproduce:

For many urban creative professionals these days, it’s not unusual to scroll through one’s Instagram feed and feel suffocated by fabulousness: There’s…

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You Won’t Deserve to Be Here

You Won’t Deserve to Be Here

Last week, an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education spread like wildfire through Facebook News Feeds. That doesn’t happen very often.

The article, a commentary by Kevin Carey entitled “Welcome, Freshmen. You Don’t Deserve to Be Here,” begins at Stanford University’s freshman convocation. We can sense that the freshman are nervous about matriculating to such a mythical institution. Maybe, after meeting their brilliant, fellow freshmen, they are wondering whether they have what it takes or whether the admissions office improperly evaluated them. So the dean stands before the freshman and attempts to comfort them with these words: “”We have made…

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No More Winning: Stephen Colbert on Love, Service, and Improv

No More Winning: Stephen Colbert on Love, Service, and Improv

We’ve gotten a lot of mileage over the years from graduation speeches. Perhaps because they tend to be so long on law and short on grace–i.e. full of exhortation rather than comfort–that when they’re good, they really stand out. Among our favorite “anti-commencement addresses” would have to be those by Bill Watterson, JK Rowling, Conan O’Brien, Jonathan Franzen and, of course, David Foster Wallace. With schools around the country gearing up for their big days, I figured it was time to toss another log on the fire, in the form of the hilarious and deceptively wise words Stephen Colbert delivered…

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Perfect Tennis, Clever Students, and Mozartesque Semi-Colons (Plus)

College Admissions, the Summer of George, and the Gospel of Free Grace

College Admissions, the Summer of George, and the Gospel of Free Grace

We are honored to present an exclusive excerpt from keynote speaker Tullian Tchividjian’s forthcoming book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. (Yes, the title is a shout-out to the man himself). This part comes from the opening of chapter nine, which deals with some of the common objections to the message of grace.

For many Americans of a certain age, the college admissions process is an oppressive and extraordinarily stressful area of life. It is performancism writ very, very large. One’s entire worth and value as a person is boiled down to a short transcript and application, which…

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“You Don’t Change People By Power”: Grace in a Norwegian Prison

“You Don’t Change People By Power”: Grace in a Norwegian Prison

A thought-provoking article from the The Guardian about Norway’s prison island Bastoy, where inmates are treated like human beings (i.e. sinners in need of mercy) and which has the lowest recidivism rate in Europe (16%!). Don’t call it imputation, but apparently, grace works. A couple choice quotes:

From the warden, Arne Nilsen:

“In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is…

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