Contemplate Your Life Span

Catherina Gioino 

Contemplate Your Life Span

Also Known As: Commitments Reality Check

Why should I even go to this school?

You, like everyone else, attend Columbia because of the prestige. You love being that asshole that quotes Homer during funerals; that black turtleneck-wearing prick hiding at MoMA, waiting to spew information about cubism’s role in colonization at every tour guide. You simply cannot do more to show off your ivy league education than by taking an unpaid human rights internship and telling your boss you know all about this topic thanks to that one “History of Food in Developing Nations” class you took for the global core.

If you find yourself overcompensating for your peers, something has to give. Once you complete this exercise, you will begin to reflect on your priorities and consider reducing or cutting commitments that are not as important to your ego.

This exercise has two parts:

  • Identify how much you will have to work at your minimum wage job after graduation to pay off your debt. This will be the total sum of college loans, one year’s rent in a crappy shoebox apartment in Brooklyn, airfare for your flight home after you declared you can’t take this city anymore, and at least two years of self-loathing while living in your parents’ basement.
  • Take control of your life by questioning how much you value social interactions and non-professional checkpoints. This may include screwing over your best friend for that interview at McKinsey, or literally screwing your best friend because it’s convenient and you both settled.

We have provided Life Span 1 below as a guide to help you complete Part 1 of this exercise.

Part 1:

Using your superior reading abilities, quickly scan and compare your life choices with those of Stacy Statistic, a current senior diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

The crucial step: For each commitment, calculate the importance it has in your life. Be accurate and honest with yourself: there’s no need to be moral here, I hate people too! Rather than morally set time aside for your family, lump up all four monthly texts you send to your parents as taking up five minutes of your precious time annually. Great! Now you only have 525,596 minutes left unaccounted for!

Stacy Statistic:

Commitment Calculation Time
(assume 6 classes and a successful petition of 24 credits)
Three graduate level seminars, two classes taught by professors with those econ ($$$) connex, and one easy intro class, you know, for “fun.” 28 hours/week
Work (assuming your parents stopped bailing you out after the third time you threw up in that Uber ride home) You’d want to avoid the work-study kids, so you take an office job in Low where no one sees you and where you end up sitting at a desk chatting on Omegle all through your shift. 18 hours/week
Internships (that’s if you have one, because if you don’t, then you’re forever going to be jobless and will be a burden on society) Usually something your parents set up for you through a mutual friend who works in a consulting firm for former politicians like Tom Ford of Canada. 15 hours/week
Sleep (those brief instances when your eyes become dry, in which the eyelids self-lubricate in a momentous open-close manner. Also known as blinking) According to Mental Floss, humans blink up to 1200 times an hour/28,000 times a day. So 28,000 x 0.33 seconds = 9333.33s = 155.555m = ~2.6 hours ~19 hours/ week
Meals Assuming you’re too lazy to go to JJ’s and so you snack on last week’s pizza crust you ordered when you were high. 4 hours/week
Homework/studying (Assuming you don’t cram until the day before it’s due) There’s an age old wisdom that you spend three hours on assignments for each hour of class time. Because Columbia holds itself to higher standards, we disregard this practice. 80 hours/week
Exercise You operate solely on Blue Java coffee, which is just enough to get you through class; any other physically strenuous activity is out of the question. 0 hours/week
Travel How long it takes you to get from Hamilton to Pupin; how long it takes for the pasta line at Ferris to start moving 7 hours/week
Hygiene/Prep How long you spend knocked out in the shower after four drinks at Kappa Sig Phi 6 hours/week
TOTAL FREE TIME 168 hours in a week minus the numbers you included -9 hours/week

Wow! According to Figure 1, Stacy Statistic is slowly dying at a rate of 9 hours a week! This gives Stacy a shortened lifespan of 468 hours a year, or an early onset death at age 73!

Part 2:

Why do I want to live anymore?

We get it, going to Columbia is a commitment. But now that we have your money and have made our acceptance rate all the smaller, we could frankly care less what you do with yourself.

Of course, that’s until you become a professional in the world and start donating money to the institution that taught you words such as “noumenon” and “atelophobia disorder.” Because we want you to succeed, we ask you these questions:

  • Are relationships with people that worth it? Do you care to put the effort into seeing the same person for months on end only to buy into a lifetime of infidelity and constant worrying? And perhaps produce spawns of your DNA who will soon lose their purity and understand their lives as humans are used as pawns to further enrich a conglomerate work culture?
  • Do you care that much about living the American dream and soon owning or renting a home/apartment within your lifestyle means? Wouldn’t it just be easier to continue living with several roommates that split that $4,000 for a studio apartment rent and then magically finding someone to entertain yourself on
  • Do you really want to help people and take values Columbia instills in you (like diversity, equality, inclusion) into your future workplace? Or wouldn’t you rather throw Taylor under the bus for leaving his unpaid overtime five minutes early so he can catch the last five minutes of his son’s dance recital?


Ultimately, you decide what’s best for you. Often, we tell and force you to do what’s best for us. We ingrain that into your work ethic and eventually ask you to donate, so we can continue this cycle of deteriorating the hopes and dreams of future college students to come. So continue down this path of overworking yourself since studies show the more you work, the earlier you die! It’s a win-win for all institutions of us.