The Tell-All Campus Tour
Wesleyan is everywhere. In your ipod, at your local movie theater, on the news, off broadway and all up in the blogosphere. You can’t escape the reach of it’s giant octopus tentacles (they can grow to 150 feet!). I never knew attending a small liberal arts college in Connecticut would eventually come to haunt me (that’s a bit dramatic but you get the point). Our good friends over at The New York Times Magazine recently ran a feature in The College Issue on Wesleyan alumni Jordan Goldman’s fairy tale success story of a once-upon-a-time-broke-Chinese-food-rationing-idealistic-college-graduate who through good fortune, blind ambition and basic Internet research (oh yeah and generous financial backing from former president of Soros Private Funds Management and Wes alum Frank Sica) successfully launched Unigo.com “a free, gigantic, student-generated guide to North American colleges for prospective applicants and their families”. I have to give Goldman props for putting google search results for “business plan” into action. As a recent college graduate suffering from a problematic entitlement complex in which I’ve convinced myself that I deserve a well paying/inspiring/relevant job, I can appreciate a good hu$tler who knows how to sell his idea and more importantly bring it to life without losing money. In fact, I’m not the least bit surprised that his initial method of reaching out to 500 Wesleyan alumnus working in finance was fruitful. In the article, author Jonathan Dee calls out Goldman for referring to his fundraising efforts as “untraditional” by noting: “it was as traditional as can be, but given that he was 23, Goldman can be excused for thinking that he discovered the Old Boy Network.” (Dee = extra sharp). Wesleyan definitely helps its own, I’m beginning to think that the Old Boy Network has a bigger payoff than the actual diploma. I won’t go through the trouble of paraphrasing Dee’s masterpiece on the birth and evolution of Unigo.com when you can and should read it yourself. Right here. Right now. I just checked Unigo.com out and there were a number of errors detected which prevented me from browsing the site to it’s full capacity but it seems simple and straightforward, nothing fancy or spectacular. And while I would recommend it to any prospective college student eager to read up on the nuances of college life outside Princeton Review, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it revolutionary.
“”Empowerment,” “Revolution,” “Grass-roots movement” –these are phrases Goldman and his employees toss around a fair bit. They’re not wrong, exactly, but there is something dispiriting about seeing that vocabulary applied here, as if the greatest empowerment to which young people can aspire is the empowerment of the focus group — the opportunity to offer marketers “reviews” that help determine how those who come after them will be marketed to. Several Unigo employees repeated to me a sort of party line that ran like this: Who’s a better judge of a college than its students? The potential counterarguments seem less important than the fact that they clearly consider the question a rhetorical one. Thus they feel no need to critique, for instance, their own tabulation that one of the most commonly voiced student complaints about today’s college experience, nationwide, is the lack of sufficient on-campus parking.” — Jonathan Dee
HA! On point. Hopefully that excerpt will motivate you to read the rest of the article. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way knocking his hustle. If anything, his story should provide some gleam of hope for the unemployed and frustrated college graduates out of luck and out of $$$. Although let’s be real about how many of y’all are fronting like you don’t have trust funds or enough cash to float/fuck around for at least another couple months. Why not invest in an impulsive web-based idea that could end up making you more money than a steady 9-5 job? But for most folks, times are hard and they’re about to get even harder. Economic crisis like whoa. And yet, I can’t find it in my heart to feel any drop of sympathy for billionaires crying over their recent downgrade to millionaire status. No more jet setting to Italy? Get. Over. It. Yikes, let me stop now before I channel all of my Dad’s end-of-the-world anxieties and conclude that we’re all doomed. Go forth my friends, “follow your dreams”…and/or hate on people who always seem to come into good luck and big fortune. I mean, Santogold and MGMT were featured in yesterday’s episode of Gossip Girl. When is it our turn to get famous? (Right, Rachie?) Just kidding…ish. Go Wes? In 500 words or less: