Virtual Happy Hour Meets in Person
Start of May 22 Column. More or Less Continuous News Service since 1998

Paul Stories: Twilight of a Mediocre Academic Career

Read the explanation of this series here.

In the middle of my freshman year, I met with Prof. Tony Sinskey, my advisor. In my first term, I had four passes and one incomplete, in Calculus. He said, “If you don’t stop spending so much time at the newspaper (Ergo) and the radio station (WTBS), you are in the twilight of a mediocre academic career, taking the path of least resistance, just slipping by everything. That can be done, you know. This is really a pretty easy school to slip by, if that’s all you want. But what will you be qualified to do if you just slip by? Certainly nothing in Mathematics or the Natural Sciences… It’s very easy here to try to do too much. And unless you’re a genius, your academic performance will suffer. And I don’t think you’re a genius.” Turns out I was qualified to be a journalist. And he was right, I wasn’t a genius.


Stephen Coquet

Although we've only met one time, and briefly at that, I'm glad I met you. When I have told others about your blog, I would say that it's like reading a letter from a dear and trusted friend who you have somehow never met. (This is before we met in person.)

Paul Schindler

Thank you for your kind words and continued interest. I appreciate the fact that you read the column, since, without readers, I'd just be talking to myself. I am humbled to hear you enjoy it as a letter from a friend; I have been a letter-writer all my life, and this is just a continuance of that habit. Bringing pleasure to others is a life goal. You are one of only a handful of readers who is not a life-long acquaintance. Thanks for that. I have been writing essays since I was 12, and I expect to be writing one the day I die, many years from now. Other than music and family, writing is my life. I am grateful for much in this life. My ability to express myself like this is high on that list.

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