Say My Name, Say My Name

The University of Pennsylvania has a problem.

No, it’s not about how the school sends out alerts whenever they see a six-foot African American male on campus at night. And no, it’s not about a broken system in place that charges sixty grand a year for a college education. It’s definitely not about the overpriced dining plans that work around inconvenient and unrealistic time schedules. Those are real. Therefore, those are minor.

It has a name problem, which is another way of saying that it has a brand problem. The students, alumni, and administration need to quit dicking around and address this crisis. What better time than Fall Break to think long and hard about something that needs to get done and to ultimately not do jack shit.

Let me explain where all this is coming from. I’m a junior. This only means one thing if you’re at Penn: On Campus Recruiting.

Actually, it means two things: OCR, and mastering the art of giving recruiters perfect handjobs. But I digress.

OCR is upon us, except for the fact that I don’t know if it has already started, when it will start, if I’m even eligible, where it happens, whom it involves. I do know one thing, however: my résumé is unfit for any sort of recruitment.

To recap what I have going for me:

-Multilingual, particularly in Bullshit

-Californian

-Studied abroad

What I have going against me:

-lack of extracurriculars,

-Philosophy major

-GPA

-lack of internships

-lack of job experience

-blog

-Geed

That’s a skinny résumé, and it’s not the good kind of skinny, either. It’s my pecker kind of skinny.

Let’s focus on one aspect in particular: job experience. I worked at a café in Kings Court English College House for a year, and ever since then, I’ve received zero work study, so I haven’t been able to find employment on campus. I have no sexy “worked at Google,” “delivered coffees at Goldman Sachs,” “got yelled at all summer at a big, famous law firm.” Yikes. If I was in a sorority, this is where I would be pulling out all of my “I can’t even”s.

I need job experience to impress these recruiters and get that coveted 80+ hours-a-week job. And Penn has a name problem. There’s a solution here that can solve both problems.

Now, I’ve been assuming up to this point that my school has a name problem, a brand problem.

“What are you talking about,” you might’ve objected right from the start, “I don’t agree with that premise at all.” Most likely, though, you probably told me I was wrong and called me a fag. That’s how things tend to work on the Internet, anyway, so I will applaud you for maintaining decorum.

Now, allow me to explain what I meant when I said Penn has a name problem: “The University of Pennsylvania” is a shit name. The first issue here is that it identifies itself with a state that lacks a global recognition. I was in Berlin this summer, and I came across no one who knew what Pennsylvania was, much less know anything about Pennsylvania.

“Ah, yes, Pennsylvania,” they would reply, “I’ve never been.” What they meant was, there’s no way in fuck I’m ever going there, either.

This is also the case in Japan, as well. My elated mother posted on her Facebook to let her friends know that her son had gotten into the University of Pennsylvania. The general response was, “I’m so happy he got in somewhere!” This wouldn’t have been the case if I had managed to get into a real school like Harvard or Columbia, even if both those schools are filled to the brim with sociopaths and douchebags. Hell, even a school like Brown would’ve gotten a better response.

This brings me to the second issue with the school name, that if the response to Penn’s name is not neutral, it is likely to be a negative one.

“Oh my god, Seth,” one of my dad’s buddies said to him during a bike ride, “what do you think about the recent scandal at your son’s school?” The Sandusky scandal had just broke at Penn State University.

“Um?”

“Isn’t it just despicable?”

“No, not really,” he responded.

“What the fuck! You’re kidding! What do you think the school should do with your son’s school’s coach?”

“I think he’s done a great job, so far. I’m a big fan of his.”

“Jesus Christ! These are serious allegations, though!”

“I don’t think there are even any allegations.”

“Wow.”

“I’m just saying that there’s no problem in the first place.”

“Get the fuck outta here.”

Even if I don’t even up doing OCR, whatever it is, I don’t want to be associated with the NAMBLA football school out in the middle of a state no one knows about when I apply for a job elsewhere. That’s a brand problem that stems from a name problem.

Let’s now get back to the solution that will solve both my problem of lack of experience and the problem of Penn’s god-awful name. The solution is actually simple, and one that we should have seen coming like Miley Cyrus becoming the second Britney.

First of all, we have a business school that prides on sucking the college experience out of college. It’s a factory for the next Raj Rajaratnams, plural. Then, we have a president who was paid in 2011 like a CEO with a salary of over two million dollars. Last but not least, most students will do whatever it takes to get that Good Ass Job to pay off the six-figure debt incurred from student loans to attend Penn.

Do you see where I’m going with this? You see where I’m going with this.

Let’s change Penn’s name to “Wharton, Inc.”

Boom. We’ve got the coveted private donor’s name that Harvard and Yale have. We’ve established that our college isn’t quite like a college in the sense that it’s actually a corporation. We’ve got a CEO, highly paid instructors to fine-tune our business skills, and an exploited workforce that keeps the cogs turning for the corporate machine. I can “graduate” from this “school” with job experience and mastery of coffee-runs and handjobs. Penn will have turned its brand around one hundred and eighty degrees by getting rid of an outdated name given by a slave owner.

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2 thoughts on “Say My Name, Say My Name

  1. http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-announces-2012-13-financial-aid-budget-tuition
    Read this article, just for reference about your argument of students graduating with debt. This obviously happens, kids graduate with loans they need to pay off. However, I think it’s admirable the way Penn has set up their aid program; all grant money no loan money. Sure, they cause you the stress over the money in the first place with their tuition cost, but all of the assistance they dole out is done without an expectation of return. Penn’s funds invest in you, and don’t ask you to show for it really.

    1. Yes, Penn’s no-loan scholarships are great. It’s how every scholarships should be. However, plenty of students don’t qualify for scholarships. By Penn’s numbers, 55% don’t. What you’ve said here is that, sure, there is a student debt problem at Penn (like any other school in the States, mind you) but at least they’ve gone about it admirably. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is still a student debt problem and that the cost of attending is still unbelievably high. I’m guessing you want to point out that Penn’s not as evil as I make it seem, to which, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

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