Leave Me and My Inbox Alone

I describe the experience of first receiving a college undergraduate program admissions email and then rant about it.

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It's a biting February morning and you're roaming the sidewalks of lower Manhattan. You feel increasingly miserable as you near Stuyvesant, as if you’re approaching the source of a terrible odor. You are still longing to be within one of the cars whizzing down Chambers Street, destined for some distant workplace, when you feel your phone vibrate in your right jeans pocket. With no regard for your imminently frozen digits, you whip it out and come upon an unforeseen notification. Surprisingly enough, it's the first email you've gotten in the past six months that isn't a weekly schedule, student update, opportunities bulletin, or Google Classroom post.

The email is from Perkens College, and the subject line oddly reads, “We Want You, Kevin.” (Author's note: I'm guessing you aren't a Kevin, but on the off chance you are, change your bland-ass name, you dork.) You curiously open it, thinking, “A college is showing interest in me already? I haven't done anything yet.” But then again, Kevin, you did cop a 93 on that one chemistry test and sit in on that extracurricular meeting that one time. What university wouldn't want you? You reach the body of the message and come upon a cryptic mess of pre-college program persuasion and tacky slogans.

You pick up your internal monologue and remark, "Well, let's just see what Perkens College has to offer," as you pry open your 14th Google Chrome tab. Your face contorts in response to the university's absolutely stellar stats. Woah! Boasting a 90% acceptance rate and a 44% graduation rate, Perkens College is the top school in Springfield, Tennessee! You groan and resume your daily pre-school-day unpleasantries, comically unaware of what has just begun.

Over the upcoming weeks, a smorgasbord* of academic advertising is thrown at you, ‌including innumerable generic, poorly-formatted emails and many racially-inclusive college postcards. What was once an isolated, notable disappointment from one especially dull morning has now freakishly morphed into a sea of unappealing, irritating mediocrity. As a privileged, high-horse-riding Stuyvesant student, none of the colleges reaching out will ever satisfy your Ivy League tastes.

If an undergraduate admissions officer miraculously happens upon this article, please heed my advice:

Don't pretend to know me or try to grab my attention by using my first name in an email. We all know it's fed into a program and spat out to thousands of students, and the illusion of personal contact is absolutely insidious.

Stop sending emails to me if I don't respond. What makes you think that I'll suddenly take an interest in your fifth email if I batted my eyelashes at the first four? I'm sick of wading through so much spam just to partake in the Spectator email thread. I’m considering demanding rent for all of the inbox real estate you people hoover up.

Finally, try not to be so transparent in your cash-grabbery. If you weren't exclusively caping for your paycheck, the emails wouldn't have stopped the second the program admissions period had ended.

I know this article won’t convince its target audience. I’m just looking for a little pity. Us SING!-losing underclassmen have had a poor run of it for a long time. Aren’t jeering juniors and smirking seniors enough already? Only our gods, Emperor Eric Contreras and College Counselor Jeff Makris, know what the junior and senior admission seasons have in store for our mailboxes.

*Smorgasbord, n.: A buffet or platter of multiple different dishes and courses; a large variety