Jeff Cooper

An Open Letter to People Who I Might Talk To

Note: This post was imported from my old blog, created and written in my high school years

04 Oct 2009

I'm a senior in high school.  It's pretty nice.  Shenanigans and not caring about anything academic (except college applications) are nice.  College applications are a pain, but must be done.  All of this was expected.  But by far the worst part of senior year is the constant flux of people doing this: (please excuse my usage of "them" as a gender-independent singular pronoun)

Me: Hi, I'm Jeff

Them: Nice to meet you

<context-dependent smalltalk, which I also hate>

Them: So, you go to Langley?

Me: Yeah.

Them: What year are you?

Me: I'm a senior. At this point I brace myself for the inevitable

Them: Oh, you must be looking at colleges!  Where do you want to go?

At this point, one of two things happens.  I either deflect by saying "I have no idea, I'm just applying everywhere and hoping I get in somewhere."

If I'm stupid enough to continue the conversation, it goes exactly like this:

Me: MIT, Caltech, CMU, UIllinois, Stanford, I'm looking for somewhere with a really good Robotics or Computer Science Program

Them: Ah, so engineering?

Me: Yep.  (It's worth pointing out here that If I don't end up doing robotics, I'll likely do CS, which is NOT engineering.  But saying this would prolong the conversation)

Them: You said Robotics, right?  You should check out Georgia Tech.

Me: Yeah, that's on the list too.

At this point they offer some sort of well-wish ("Good Luck" or "I'm sure you'll get in somewhere great") and I try really hard to go eat something.  Because chances are if I'm talking to someone I don't know very well, I'm at a party.  And parties have food.  And I like food.

So I offer this open letter to everyone:


Dear Person:

You have just asked me about my college situation.  Congratulations!  You probably thought you were pretty clever to ask me about something pertinent to my age demographic!  So here you go: Yes, I am applying to college.  I'm applying to the following places

<Insert your list of colleges here>

I'm really interested in studying <Some description of your intended career path.  If you don't know, make something up, or say "anything, really."  You could insert something incredibly strange like Animal Husbandry (ala Accepted)>.  I really want to be a <career> when I grow up.

I'm so glad you're interested in my future!  Want to make a donation to my college fund?

Thanks so much,

<sign here>

<Your Name>


Okay, it isn't my best work.  But it will keep someone entertained/perplexed long enough for you to slip away to the refreshment table.  I hear the little hot dogs are nice.

I would highly recommend everyone to keep one of these in their wallet, in case you get into a situation where you might need one.

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