A positive outlook on missing the class of 2014
How lucky I am to have had something so wonderful and have made such great friends and memories that saying goodbye was so difficult
Today is just one of those days
In which I were waking up in Maryland, where the problems don’t seem as problematic, the rain isn’t as cold or as cruel, the parking is possible, the Jewish girls don’t all wear black, Wall Street is just a faraway idea instead of an ideal, and I can wake up to the smell of my mom’s banana chocolate chip pancakes
The ultimate question on my mind - job!?
Should I take a job offer in an industry in which I don’t want to pursue my career? It’s a good job. Pays well. Interesting. Will maybe open doors? And I’m struggling with LSAT studying.
It was nice to get a job offer before I stepped foot on campus for my senior year, but this is a tough decision.
My other path? Apply to lots of scholarships/fellowships that’ll keep me busy for a year or two before heading to law school. Or become a second lieutenant in the marine corps. There’s that.
Welcome Back - A Recap of the Summer
Welcome back, Cornellians! We hope that your summer was one of advancement and adventure, whether you worked, studied, interned, traveled, or just spent time at home. Wherever you spent the past three months, you were probably exposed to some headlines that caught your attention. Perhaps some reinforced your long held beliefs while others angered or even frightened you. Perhaps a few of them incited a passion within you, fueling a desire to take matters into your own hands – attending a vigil for a young man from Missouri, perhaps, or flooding the streets in demand for justice in the Middle East, or maybe just contributing to social media, as you posted an angry article about recent Supreme Court decisions or uploaded a silly video of ice being dumped on your head in the name of awareness.
This past summer saw a host of events that were worthy of more than just dinner table dialogue. Let’s start with the justice system, where the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn decisions of June 30th resulted in changes for workers, women, and labor, spurring quotable rock-hard dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Cornell ’54) as well as social media commentary varying in quality from burgeoning lawyers and other literate people with internet access.
In Hobby Lobby, the Court ruled that businesses owned by religious families could not be required to pay for contraception coverage for their female workers, thereby extending the protection of religious freedom to the commercial, profit-making world. Ginsburg’s dissent made the distinction between religious institutions and profit-seeking ones: “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.” Let’s not forget the secular minimum wage female worker who, if she desired to use IUD contraception, would have to spend nearly a month’s worth of her full-time pay. Let’s not forget all of the other opportunities that religious family-owned corporations will now have to object to providing various healthcare services under this precedent. “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]” Ginsburg inquired of the Roberts Court. “Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
In Harris v. Quinn, the Court ruled that some government workers are not required to pay union dues to the unions representing them. This case was brought about by Medicaid-paid homecare aides who objected to contributing union dues. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan pointed to the importance of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (which ruled that agency shop clauses do not violate the First Amendment) and the importance of collective bargaining in the healthcare industry. “Because of that bargaining,” she wrote, “…home-care assistants have nearly doubled their wages in less than ten years, obtained state-funded health insurance, and benefited from better training and workplace safety measures… The state, in return… has gotten a more stable workforce providing higher quality care.” The Court had essentially chosen the interests of a few opposed to paying their fair share over the majority who had democratically elected a union to represent the interests of them all.
Speaking of workers, the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent this summer, the lowest since September 2008. Let’s spread the word – anyone have any ice? (To be fair, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has resulted in over $100 million in donations – a 3,500 percent increase from the $2.8 million that the ALSA raised during the same time last year, according to Forbes.)
While lots of our money is going to the ALS Association, less of it is going to Russia. The US and the EU imposed new sanctions on Russia this summer as a result of Russia invading the Ukraine. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, tried to resign, but the parliament rejected his resignation. Just two weeks earlier, a Malaysia Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the most populated province of Ukraine, in a location that happened to be 25 miles from the border with Russia.
Speaking of planes, the Taliban attacked Pakistan’s largest airport this summer, and the US launched airstrikes on ISIS, the Sunni jihadist group attempting to unite the Middle East as an Islamic caliphate under its control, capturing Iraqi and Syrian cities, blowing up sacred sites, holding students hostage, and massacring Yazidis, Christians, and others along the way.
Not far away, other objects flew through the air - rockets, mortars, and bombs, oh my – red alerts were sounded, ceasefires were ignored, high-tech defense systems were utilized, terror tunnels were discovered, and people – from extremist fighters to innocent children – were killed in Gaza and Israel. Each side blamed the terror in their lives on the other, each side called the media biased, and each side will go about their lives in anything but a state of contentment after it all ends.
But why should you care? Why not consider Germany’s World Cup win to be the most important world event this summer? Why not just watch the fun soccer tournament taking place in Brazil and ignore all the Brazilians protesting it? Why care about an Ebola outbreak when it is an ocean away, a war when it is in a foreign land, a teenager shot in a state you’ve never visited, or a disease or court cases when they may never affect your life?
I can’t tell you which issues you should care about. I can’t even tell you to care about any issues. What I can tell you – and you can hear this advice from anyone, be that person a writer, an activist, or a Wall Street CEO – is that you should know about the issues. I can’t tell you to care about them, but you should know that they’re there, that things are happening in this world, that they’re changing this world, and you should be able to speak intelligently about them. We, as the up-and-coming generation, have the responsibility to help solve some of the world’s problems, and the first step is to know those problems. Whether you choose to simply read about them, spread awareness of them, write about them, or get involved and act on them, is up to you. And if an issue you read about really bothers you, have the courage to act. Have the courage to stand up, speak out. Don’t sit idly by – speak in the face of injustice.
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. – Abraham Lincoln
Don’t be silent because you don’t know reasons to speak.
Free ice cream sundaes
Reason #357325674 why I love Cornell’s ILR School