The Worst Ivy
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Andy Bernard

Broad City, in a mere eighteen episodes thus far, has managed to make two Cornell jokes. The first was when they went to the upper east side looking for Abbi’s phone and were bombarded with the passing conversations of the ultra wealthy. One woman lamented her son-in-law only having gone to Cornell. Then in the episode where Ilana gets interns and then fires them, one of them pleads with her to keep her job. “I only have a business degree form Cornell, it’s the worst ivy.”

The girl from Up In The Air who fires people went to Cornell. Tara Reid’s character from Apple Pie went to Cornell. Tara Reid for Christ’s sake. And the deepest cut of all: Andy Bernard from The Office. He was a tool who should have been written off of the show when Jim came back from Stamford. But I really hated him because the people who created him – Greg Daniels and Michael Shur and BJ Novak and probably the rest of the writing staff – went to Harvard.

There’s something inherently funny about being the worst of an elite group. Ringo, Tito Jackson, Danny Ainge, Neal Bush. I get it. I’m also not going to debate the fact that Cornellians can be smarmy and annoying. Hell, both Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher went there. So did Ann Coulter and she is evil incarnate.

To me, Cornell is the world’s greatest vocational school. It’s like those ads for vocational schools you see on TV, except instead of TV/VCR repair, you can learn hotel administration, electrical engineering, or fish and wildlife management (actual major). I studied chemical engineering and I realized a little too late that I didn’t care about it at all (my former classmates could no doubt attest to my, uh, lack of passion). In senior year, we made presentations in suits because that’s what our eventual jobs would be like. It was as exciting as it sounds.

It was a big deal when I got in. I worked hard in high school to get there. I think my father had a goal to send me to a good college and it wasn’t easy, financially, to send me there. He took out another mortgage on our house in addition to taking out loans just to make it happen. He had gotten his master’s degree there and every summer on the way back from our yearly trip to the Poconos, we would stop in Ithaca just to walk around. I think he was proud that I got in and that he was able to send me there. So, later, when I would slag it off, I probably looked so ungrateful. I probably hurt his feelings. I only realize that now.

Perhaps I didn’t receive some mind bending, enriching liberal arts education, so be it. The technical knowledge I got there has served me pretty well so far. Cornell might be a joke but it still looks pretty good on a resume.

And it’s really not that bad. It’s really pretty in the fall. Kurt Vonnegut went there. So did E.B. White, Thomas Pynchon, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. And Janet Reno, who, at the very least, inspired a great Will Ferrell sketch on SNL.

Did I mention I also got in to UPenn?

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