Californians Just Don’t Get the Ivy League

0310_james_franco_sleepingIn the new “Thinking Big” blog on The Atlantic Online, blog writer Conor Friedersdorf wrote a post about his thoughts on New York and the East Coast–having grown up in California before moving east for graduate school. Before relocating to New York, most of the East Coast existed only as an idea to Friedersdorf, with one major eastern presence being more theoretical than even peppermint unicorns.

My own final abstraction was the Ivy League, a group of institutions I knew nothing about for most of my life save the fact that Harvard and Yale were among them. As late as age 26, when I began looking at Columbia University for graduate school, I never thought of it as being in the Ivy League, nor did I put Brown, Princeton or the University of Pennsylvania in those categories. I’d scarcely heard of Cornell or Dartmouth until I moved to the East Coast.

Before all you Ivy League alums start writing hate mail to Conor Friedersdorf–and in the case of Princeton grads, order an air strike on his house for grouping your alma mater with “the other five”–be aware that it is not a singular notion. In fact, there’s an entire state that doesn’t grasp the concept of obsessing over elitism.

As seniors in high school, my sense is that although most of my classmates were probably aware of Harvard as the biggest name school in America, a peer admitted to Stanford University would’ve commanded congratulations as hearty. Asked to name the most prestigious school among UC Berkeley, Brown, Cornell and UPenn, Berkeley would’ve won the day, except that one never would’ve been asked to make that judgment, let alone to internalize it.

It is mind-boggling to think that prestige wouldn’t be a factor in someone’s college decision. That’s the main reason most Ivy Leaguers eliminated Berkeley as an option, because its academics are too good for it to be ruled out that way. Berkeley also fails to compare to the Ivies in Hogwarts transfers and surprise Dark Angel  visits.

But despite his relatively short time in New York, Conor Friedersdorf has already learned about how the Ivy League works. Before retelling a story about an especially pompous statement made by an Ivy League-educated acquaintance, Friedersdorf provides the following disclaimer regarding the acquaintance’s alma mater.

[N]ote to East Coast readers: it wasn’t Harvard, Yale or Princeton[.]

Ah, that means whatever was said must have been ridiculously self-important. Good, Mr. Friedersdorf. Use your knowledge of prestige. Let the elitism flow through you. Strike the obnoxious Ivy Leaguer down with all your sense of superiority and your journey towards the east side will be complete!

  • LSUgrad

    What? What is this story about?
    Are we thin skinned or what?
    Those of us that went to the good schools should just never admit our angst.
    So stop it.
    Can we please have more Dartmouth drinkin’ stories?

  • LSUgrad

    What? What is this story about?
    Are we thin skinned or what?
    Those of us that went to the good schools should just never admit our angst.
    So stop it.
    Can we please have more Dartmouth drinkin’ stories?

  • cuEnginerd

    1. Conor needs to burn.

    2. Dartmouth’s spring term ends a month after all the other Ivies. It’s really a shame that in all that time, there weren’t more Dartmouth news stories….considering the debauchery that happened.

    3. Please bring back that badass comment system from a few articles ago!

    4. “That’s the main reason most Ivy Leaguers eliminated Berkeley as an option, because its academics are too good for it to be ruled out that way.” Golf clap.

  • cuEnginerd

    1. Conor needs to burn.

    2. Dartmouth’s spring term ends a month after all the other Ivies. It’s really a shame that in all that time, there weren’t more Dartmouth news stories….considering the debauchery that happened.

    3. Please bring back that badass comment system from a few articles ago!

    4. “That’s the main reason most Ivy Leaguers eliminated Berkeley as an option, because its academics are too good for it to be ruled out that way.” Golf clap.

  • columbian

    i’ll be honest, california is like a peppermint unicorn to me. all i know about it is from tv. i have a vague picture of paris hitlon, the la brea tar pits, and old episodes of the tonight show, with tacky suits and retro decor. oh, and police chase footage and various prospectors mining for gold and oil. ahh california. i do worry though that lex luthor will one day make it all collapse into the ocean.

  • columbian

    i’ll be honest, california is like a peppermint unicorn to me. all i know about it is from tv. i have a vague picture of paris hitlon, the la brea tar pits, and old episodes of the tonight show, with tacky suits and retro decor. oh, and police chase footage and various prospectors mining for gold and oil. ahh california. i do worry though that lex luthor will one day make it all collapse into the ocean.

  • californianatbrown

    God that is so so true. This is a conversation I’ve had a number of times:

    Californian: Oh you go to Brown! Now, is that the women’s college?
    Me: Nope
    Californian: And where is it, again?
    Me: Providence
    Californian: Which is in….
    Me: Rhode Island
    Californian: Right right. So do you ever drive up to New York City?

  • californianatbrown

    God that is so so true. This is a conversation I’ve had a number of times:

    Californian: Oh you go to Brown! Now, is that the women’s college?
    Me: Nope
    Californian: And where is it, again?
    Me: Providence
    Californian: Which is in….
    Me: Rhode Island
    Californian: Right right. So do you ever drive up to New York City?

  • @cuEnginerd

    you’re just a pre-frosh, so stop.

  • @cuEnginerd

    you’re just a pre-frosh, so stop.

  • @ “@cuEnginerd”

    Actually, I’m an alum, and a Princeton grad student if you must know. Where your ignorant self got the idea that my 25 year-old self was a “pre-frosh” (honestly, get to know the term “prospy”) is beyond me.

  • @ “@cuEnginerd”

    Actually, I’m an alum, and a Princeton grad student if you must know. Where your ignorant self got the idea that my 25 year-old self was a “pre-frosh” (honestly, get to know the term “prospy”) is beyond me.

  • @CuEnginerd2

    It is actually “prospie.”

  • @CuEnginerd2

    It is actually “prospie.”

  • Philthy

    The thing is, though, an east coast family would send their child to someplace like Williams over Stanford in a heartbeat. To a certain extent I feel that east-coasters put much importance on the history of a college/university over something like academics. I would send my daughter to Bryn Mawr over UCLA without blinking an eye…

  • Philthy

    The thing is, though, an east coast family would send their child to someplace like Williams over Stanford in a heartbeat. To a certain extent I feel that east-coasters put much importance on the history of a college/university over something like academics. I would send my daughter to Bryn Mawr over UCLA without blinking an eye…

  • The Force

    Brilliant SW reference

  • The Force

    Brilliant SW reference

  • http://www.twinxlbedding.com/ Twin XL

    Some of these comments are crackin me up! lol

  • http://www.twinxlbedding.com Twin XL

    Some of these comments are crackin me up! lol

  • Brandon

    williams over stanford? really???

    false.

  • Brandon

    williams over stanford? really???

    false.

  • Ivory

    This is so true. I spent 2 yrs in San Francisco and all the CA born ppl I met there would gladly choose to remain in CA and go to Stanford (if they can get in) or one of the UCs or even one of the Cal State’s over a minor Ivy or small college back east.

  • Ivory

    This is so true. I spent 2 yrs in San Francisco and all the CA born ppl I met there would gladly choose to remain in CA and go to Stanford (if they can get in) or one of the UCs or even one of the Cal State’s over a minor Ivy or small college back east.

  • CalifornianPrincetonian

    So the fact that Californians make up one of the largest groups (if not the largest) at most Ivies means nothing, of course. We’re all just dumb surfers who somehow stumbled into the Ivy League….

  • CalifornianPrincetonian

    So the fact that Californians make up one of the largest groups (if not the largest) at most Ivies means nothing, of course. We’re all just dumb surfers who somehow stumbled into the Ivy League….

  • californian_D_alum

    It doesn’t matter that Californians make up one of the largest groups at most Ivies; my guess is that the percentage is merely proportional to the sheer number of students that exist in California.

    Even if California is largely represented in a lot of the Ivies (especially Dartmouth), I remember a lot of my high school classmates showing little to no interest in applying to private schools, much less the Ivy League. The UC system trumps all, and most graduating high schoolers are either UC or Cal State bound.

    When I got accepted into Dartmouth, I was told by many of my classmates that I was stupid to spend that much money on an Ivy League school, when I could have spent significantly less for a UC education. Perceptions are just different there, and I think that a lot of my former classmates would be shocked if they ever stumbled upon an Ivy League campus or sat in on one of the lectures. That kind of stuff just doesn’t exist in the realm of what they know college experiences to be like.

  • californian_D_alum

    It doesn’t matter that Californians make up one of the largest groups at most Ivies; my guess is that the percentage is merely proportional to the sheer number of students that exist in California.

    Even if California is largely represented in a lot of the Ivies (especially Dartmouth), I remember a lot of my high school classmates showing little to no interest in applying to private schools, much less the Ivy League. The UC system trumps all, and most graduating high schoolers are either UC or Cal State bound.

    When I got accepted into Dartmouth, I was told by many of my classmates that I was stupid to spend that much money on an Ivy League school, when I could have spent significantly less for a UC education. Perceptions are just different there, and I think that a lot of my former classmates would be shocked if they ever stumbled upon an Ivy League campus or sat in on one of the lectures. That kind of stuff just doesn’t exist in the realm of what they know college experiences to be like.

  • californian_D_alum

    Oh, and let’s not forget: “What’s Dart-Mowth?”

  • californian_D_alum

    Oh, and let’s not forget: “What’s Dart-Mowth?”