* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where our top priority is helping you get your child into a good college. And if you believe that, you may believe Candy Schulman.

Letter To The Chancellor Of Any College Who Will Admit My High Maintenance Son: First Draft

By:
candy@candyschulman.com
www.candyschulman.com

Dear Chancellor,

By the time you receive this, there is a 10% chance my son will have completed his essay. Depends on how the Knicks are doing. My daughter was never this way. She wrote her college admissions essay in second grade, graduated from high school at twelve, and was admitted to HYP before puberty.

My son has strengths other than time management. In any event, most universities request supplemental essays, so I thought I’d write my own. The way I crafted a parent statement when we applied him to that Park Avenue preschool, which promised to put him on the Ivy League fast track. We sure fell for that one.

Let’s get this on the application table: we are paying full freight. Fuck the FAFSA! I know how much cash flow means to an elite liberal arts college. Here is the password to our Chase account — feel free to stalk our copious balances online.

I suggested that my son choose the prompt, “Who Are You? Who who who who?” but all he came up with was: I ♥ Roger Daltrey. Believe it or not, he writes well. He never relies on auto-correct. In box #1, please find a portfolio of his texts over the past six months (the sober ones). He doesn’t have time to write this essay, incapacitated with acute senioritis, for which there is no known cure. I wonder if you’d consider this a true disability for your quotas.

The Common App can’t illuminate everything about this unique human being. It began on a January morning after 63.2 hours of labor — a hospital record. My son’s first of many awards. Before third grade, his room was full of those tacky soccer medals (you’ll find them enclosed in box #2). Sure, everyone on the team got medals for just showing up, but my son showed up more often than most. As did I, his chauffeur. Have you ever driven a car full of stinky post-practice pre-pubescent boys? That’s an accomplishment. But this supplement is not about me.

My son has always taken the initiative. Like the time he drove our car to the mall when he still had only a learner’s permit. My husband used political connections to cover up the arrest record.

In terms of his assets, he’s strikingly handsome if I must say so myself, he doesn’t use heroin, he’s from a mixed marriage (lapsed Catholic/secular Jew), and no one in our family has been arrested for sexting. Not yet.

I am confident/convinced/c#$@sure (note to self: look up alternatives in thesaurus.com) that my son will look debonair on your college brochures, locked arm in arm with his African American and Latino BFFLs. On his community service trip to Belgium last summer, he was introduced to the world of artisanal beers, making him an asset to fraternities. But this is not about my son. It’s about the genes that spawned him.

I swabbed my cheek and sent my DNA sample to the Genographic Project, which informed me that my people started in Ethiopia, migrating to South Asia. We are .00004% African. I’ve always regarded our heritage as multi-cultural. German, Polish, Austrian, Czech, Russian — the whole mishpocheh. Think how many minorities you can check off!

In box #3, you’ll find our unedited home videos of my son’s first year. Watch how he achieved developmental milestones like starting his terrible twos at just eight months. Please ignore footage of him rolling off our bed at six weeks. The neurologist assures us that his brain is just fine.

I am not a helicopter mom, but I’ll bring his lucky roommates gluten-free cookies with NoDoz chips, ideal for all-nighters, my own recipe I’m patenting. Just call me Big Mom On Campus.

I hope you’ll take all this into consideration in the event that you mistakenly reject my son for legacies with perfect board scores fueled by Adderall and nepotistic summer internships. Did I mention we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas? Love decorating that cute tree. (Note to self: remove this for Brandeis.)

Finally, let’s peek into the future. My son plans to invent an app nobody yet knows we need or want, and take it public. Picture a faux colonial building he’ll surely donate to campus, enshrined with his name.

In box #4, you’ll find letters from my shrink, personal trainer and meditation leader, documenting how my stress level would be reduced if I could get my high-maintenance son out of the house for four years. This would also give me privacy for lazy afternoons with the gardener I’ve had a crush on. Who knows? I might even be able to fill my empty nest with a satisfying new career. I hear ghostwriting college application essays is quite lucrative.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where helping keep you alive with pertinent health advice is right near the top of our bucket list. Hearken to our good friend Candy Schulman.

Stand — Or Die

By:
candy@candyschulman.com
candyschulman.com

Sitting is associated with more than a 25% increased risk of colon, endometrial and lung cancers. — The National Cancer Institute

DAY 1:
Digest the startling news that sitting can be fatal. Stand up to the specter of death — even if it gives me flat feet. Avoid that toxic, carcinogenic chair as if every inch of upholstery is infused with ebola.

Swig a bottle of red Two Buck Chuck, allegedly lowering cholesterol. Rant to Dr. Oz: “Wasn’t it enough of a lifestyle imposition when they made us raise our heart rate 30 minutes five times a week? Now I’ve got to take a goddamn stroll every half hour and intensively treadmill walk every 20 minutes? No wonder they call you health nuts.”

Day 2:
Arrive at work with a hangover and a resolution: live long enough to be cast off into assisted living by the children I don’t have yet because I can’t find a guy to marry let alone date who’ll stand by me in sickness and health.

Forget about treadmill desks. They’d never squeeze into office cubicle, a microscopic prison cell with no natural light — an entirely different health hazard. Just jog in place while doing mind-numbing work. Contemplate unwritten screenplay.

“Why are your memos so shaky?” Boss reprimands.

Demonstrate liberal arts education by quoting Hemingway: “Never sit at a table when you can stand at a bar.” Papa had the foresight of how detrimental resting on one’s butt can be….

Day 3:
Jealous how guys pee standing up, rather than risk their life urinating from a toilet seat. But can’t indulge in analyzing my penis envy. Dropped out of therapy, when shrink accused me of resistance when I embarked on a power walk twice during my fifty-minute session. So what if I never unravel my traumas, which began when my mother strapped me into a stroller for hours on end, rather than letting me run free?

Shrinkless, whine incessantly to friends during our nightly race walks around the park. “I’m sick of your complaints,” these alleged fitness buddies claim. “Find new walking partners.”

Day 4:
Escape to the movies. Standing — in spite of belligerent audience members cursing my upright torso. Warn then: “You’re all going to die of cancer! Before the 10th sequel to Planet of the Apes!” Remain unfazed as they bombard my back with popcorn kernels to get me to sink into lethal stadium seating. Ascend and soar, warding off disease. No tall bald head will block my view of subtitles again.

Day 5:
Delay boss’s request to talk about annual review. Inform him unflinchingly that I’ll be available after my two minute intensive workout. Which I’m doing to counteract all the disease-invoking sitting that pays my paltry salary.

Meet with boss, heart rate up, dabbing sweat from brow. Can’t resist pointing out he’s morbidly obese. Curiously ask if he ever suffered angina climbing that rickety corporate ladder. Disdainfully watch him slurp his illegal supersize soda while he flip-flops from firing me because of economic downsizing, quoting another health hazard:

“Your colleagues are complaining about your B.O. from your hourly exercise sprints.”

He doesn’t smell so great himself. Reeks of cheap aftershave.

Pack up desk. Wipe away tears. Co-workers think it’s because I’m going to miss them. Break the news it’s because it’s too late to sign up for Obamacare.

Day 6:
Stand on line at the unemployment office — the greatest biped exercise of all! Recall how I mastered loveless, unprotected sex standing up, long before it was a healthy option. In showers, behind trees in Central Park.

“What are your skill sets?” the clerk asks.

Reply: “Dining standing up.” Just sold kitchen table to offset salary plunge. Soon won’t be able to afford NYC rent, which could never afford anyway. Feast on ramen for dinner — standing at a counter in Whole Foods. Trotting down the road to malnourishment, refuse to get depressed. Even though have no money, no friends, no therapist, no hope. Vow to sleep on the street before moving back home into childhood bedroom with all those soccer medals everyone got just for showing up. But just in case: apologize to Mom for being ungrateful that she put homemade granola in lunchbox instead of Cheetos.

Day 7:
Feel self-righteous being a vertical, upstanding member of society, albeit jobless, strolling aimlessly down the street with headphones, belting out harmonies to Stand By Me. Bipeds must not sit still in the advance of science.

Consider advantages:

Don’t descend into Neanderthal mob-like behavior, shoving old ladies out of the way on the subway to vie for the last seat.

Standing room seats at the theater cost a fraction of the price.

Reduce risk of dying tragically from painful, debilitating diseases — until those scientific sadists endorse new preventive guidelines that totally contradict the old ones.

Day 8:
Refuse to be one of those lazy panhandlers. No languishing on ass behind a tear-inducing sign listing an array of illnesses from sitting on the sidewalk. Practice begging completely upright.

A man in an Armani suit drops a dollar in my cup. “Sorry you’re down on your luck,” he says.

Confess your days are numbered. Ask for cigarette. Light up together in bliss.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we will help you rewrite your resume until you're a sure-fire winner. Just like Candy Schulman.

Resume Of A Desperate College Grad

By:

http://www.candyschulman.com

Objective:
Someone, anything to rescue me from my parents’ basement! — I’m being held hostage because I’m overeducated, unemployed and broke.

Highlights of Qualifications:
• Liberal arts degree, ranked #5 on Forbes “The 10 Worst College Majors List.”
• Four years on a campus overblown with history, intellectual pretension and tenured professor/underage coed affairs.
• Conversant in art and literature — while Americans would rather debate the Kardashians.
• Multitasker: can text, Tweet, update FB status, pee, and plagiarize a paper at the same time.
• Proficient in college drinking games, with knowledge of mixology for Brass Monkeys, instrumental for surviving somniferous corporate meetings.

Education:
Hoity-Toity College Too Elite to Divulge, in the middle of nowhere in the Northeast, with less than a 15% admissions rate and failed diversity efforts.
G.P.A.: Too mediocre to mention (see above, regarding drinking games).
Sports: Trying to elevate Ultimate Frisbee to varsity status.
Leadership Activities: Organized the college’s first hot dog eating contest.
Community Service: Buying tequila for underage underclassmen who couldn’t afford fake IDs.
Awards: Campus record for sleeping the most number of hours: 18.5 straight.

Work Experience:
Post College Regression In The Post-Recession, June 2013-Present
Position Title: Emerging Adult
• Grudgingly moved back home with parents after graduation.
• Free rent in exchange for doing laundry, limiting FB stalking to one hour daily and e-mailing at least five resumes a day.
• Initiated a ban on any dinner conversation starting with, “…and what are you planning to do with the rest of your life?”

Nepotism LLC, Summer 2012
Glorified Slave for Daddy’s Privately-Owned Business
• Tedious tasks way beneath my worthless $250,000 diploma.
• Social Media 101 to promote my father’s business and bank account. Welcome to the 21st century, Dad!
Statistical Analysis: Convinced Dad to give me a lift to work 68.5% of the time; limited arguments to 1.5 a day, five days a week.

Camp Privilege / Take a Rich Kid to the Country USA, Summer 2011
Assistant Counselor
• Couldn’t score an internship because it was the Great Recession (not my fault, I was born into this mess).
• Plan B: running after whining five-year-olds. Successfully kept gluten-free and peanut allergic kids from trading lunches. Never lost one camper during educational trips where they taught each other how to curse on the bus.

Previous Black Market Employment, Summer 2010
Dog Walker
• People pay more to take care of their pets than their children. (Put that on the syllabus for Sociology 200.)
• Ironic that an 18-year-old can make 20 bucks an hour cash, when today’s English majors face the prospect of making $12.50 an hour to work in publishing, if it still exists.
• This type of fiscal pondering positions me for a job in economics, a field less precise than philosophy, which, did I mention, was my minor? (#4 on the Forbes “Worst College Majors List.”)
Skills gained: Picked up hot guys on the street who were impressed that I could walk three purebred dogs without entangling their leashes.

Additional Skills & Training:
• Fluent in textbook French, advantageous when avoiding ordering organ meats in a Rive Gauche bistro.
• Ability to use “ironic” and “disreputable” in a sentence in a vainglorious way.
• One-day barista training course. Artery-clogging full fat or tasteless skim in your latte?
• Red Cross Babysitters’ Certificate, Eighth Grade.

Other Achievements & Awards:
• Only girl on my dorm floor who didn’t gain the freshman 15.
• No history of eating disorders.
• Completed marathon: re-read all seven volumes of Harry Potter, pausing only for bathroom breaks.
• Raised SAT scores 200 points on Adderall.
• Won tacky gymnastic medal in third grade — along with everyone else who showed up.
• No debt…although indebted to my parents for life — which they remind me of every chance they get. As in: “Do you know how many college graduates would rather take out the garbage than pay back their student loans?”

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