Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In an episode of productive procrastination, you, like many other Swatties, may have clicked through Career Services’ website. If so, you may have spotted a rather odd graphic of three Teletubbyesque figures and a giant telescope that adorns the link to Swattie Emeritus’ Blog, “The Way Things Look from Here.” In an attempt to further distance yourself from the work waiting patiently on your desk, you may have clicked on the Teletubbies. If you have yet to stumble upon this gem of a blog, I highly encourage you to take the trip. S.E. provides a cyber-escape like no other. You will be transported to another place, far, far away, a place some like to call the Real World. S.E. prefers the term “How the Hell Did I End Up Here.” As you read the trials and tribulations of an ’05 Swattie embarking on a career, you may be tempted to think of the good things Swat has to offer and perhaps even view your problem set/term paper/final exam as a welcome respite from HTHDIEUH. The Gazette recently caught up with S.E. to find out some of the ups and downs of post-college life (and crucially, how to party without Paces).
Daily Gazette: Why did you agree to blog your experiences for us at Swat?
Swattie Emeritus: Well, I think the point of the blog is to show what life is like after you’ve graduated. I hope that by sharing some of my own experiences people will be better prepared for the changes that await them upon graduation. It’s rather like the old saying, everyone is always fighting the last war rather than the one thats upon them. And, in my own experience, I found that to be true. I approached graduating from college very much as I approached graduating from high school — went on much as I always had, hardly changed my habits and it made for a rather rude shock. And so, I hope that by making people aware of just how different life is, they will be mentally prepared to make some of the changes that the coming days will require.
DG: What do you miss most?
SE: Thats a no brainer. The people, good conversation, and a sense of community. Office life is like a milder version of how I’ve heard things described in communist and authoritarian countries — one must always be on one’s guard to never say the wrong thing, or go against the grain lest it come back to haunt you during evaluation time. There is an immense pressure to conform, because if you don’t you’re not a “team player” and that is the quality that most businesses now seek in employees. Whereas at Swat, everyone yells and argues and expresses their opinions, but no one ever really doubts that you’re one of the team and I think I’d like to find more of that in subsequent jobs. Also, good conversations are few and far between, and a social network damn hard to build from scratch.
DG: What’s the best thing about HTHDIEUH?
SE: Knowing that when I leave work, I’m done for the day. I may be too exhausted much of the time to appreciate it, but work rarely follows you home, while in college… it’s right there in the name: homework. It’s everywhere.
DG: Is the “Swat bubble” phenomenon true?
SE: Yes, but in a good way. And embrace it while you’ve got it. It’s really nice to have weekly rituals that govern your life… like everyone knows if it’s 11am on Sunday, it’s time to stumble down to Sharples for the best meal of the week and talk about what happened the night before.
DG: How does one party without Paces?
SE: You head down to a bar with your crew and see what happens.