My name is George Astor. You may know me as the guy who achieved self-actualization when I reached over 500 connections on LinkedIn. During my month-long quarantine in my family’s mansion in Short Hills, New Jersey, I’ve been doing some thinking: What was the point of me pretending to do all those Core Curriculum readings if I can’t use my education for good?
I believe that, as students of Columbia University, the twelfth wealthiest university in one of the wealthiest cities in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have a duty to give back to those who are more fortunate than we are. I was so inspired by the medical students who graduated early to help fight the pandemic that my first reaction was, “Wow! I’d also like to be lauded as a hero.”
This is why I propose that all economics majors should be allowed to graduate early so that we can join the frontlines of insurance companies that are profiting off the pandemic. According to my own neoliberal interpretation of Adam Smith’s writings, this would be of service to society as a whole because of trickle-down economics. Whenever large corporations make money, the invisible hand magically sprinkles some dollar bills into the rest of our bank accounts as well.
Anyway, I think it’d be nice if New York City cheered from windows and rooftops for us, just like they do for those medical workers. It’d really warm my heart if New Yorkers of all ages recognized the moral sacrifices we have to make every day to ensure that the people benefitting from this crisis are benefitting even more. Seriously! What would the world look like if people actually paid reasonable prices for their healthcare like they do in all the other developed countries in the world? We need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
When I first entered the University, Dean Valentini told me to practice “beginner’s mind.” I believe I’ve finally accomplished that task. I’ve wiped my brain clean of all the traditional morals and ethics I read about in Contemporary Civilization and I am now following the new and sleek Bezos-ian philosophy of making a boatload of cash. Yet despite my obsession with LinkedIn and my future career, even I know that the single most important thing during these trying times is not an internship, getting a job, or the joy of selling out. It is for you and your loved ones to stay safe and healthy. But, if that fails, just remember that someone (me) will always be there to profit off your misery!
Canwen Xu is a senior at Columbia. She is incredibly relieved that this is the last installment of her column because she has literally exhausted all of her jokes.
To respond to this column, or to submit an op-ed, contact email@example.com.