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Share Your Pride

March 8, 2010

Hello everyone,

Spring has sprung, if today’s weather is any indication. That’s certainly an opportune time to come out of hibernation and share.

Allow me to introduce the launch of Share Your Pride.

Visit us to read journeys and stories from other Columbia alumni. Email us at columbiapridealumni[at]gmail.com, and we’ll share your postings with our community. And, feel free to join the conversation on the posts that you read.

Our first posting is from Eric Horwitz (CC ’90) on Ivy League angst. Who suffers from it? How can we address it and move forward? I, for one, am looking forward to the conversation.

See you online at the campfire,

Chad Miller
President, Columbia Pride

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Ivy League Angst:
When everything is not enough?

As I watched President Obama try to ring some concessions out of his Republican counterparts at the Health Care Summit, I could not help but feel a great deal of empathy for his frustration.  All of his Columbia and Harvard education, and the fact that he was the leader of the free world, could not overcome the fact that his opposition was at times belligerent and appeared that they would do anything to prevent this first African American president from achieving what is obviously an oncoming crisis for this country.

As a coach, I work with many Ivy-league educated professionals who often find that all their education and intelligence somehow still prevents them from achieving their aims.  This is true for both my straight and LGBTQ clients.  I call this Ivy league Angst.  (ILA) Basically, with all the prestigious degrees in the world, one still may not result in success and happiness in the real world.

So here are three perspectives on why everything is not enough.

First Reason for Angst:
School is about being right…and life is about being really comfortable with being wrong.  So I recommend that you put down your number 2 pencil, and start to learn from all the people that you have labeled as stupid or lazy.  Those stupid and lazy people, especially the ones that appear to have good jobs, and close friends, learned in the school of life things that you could never pick up in Hamilton Hall.

Second Reason for Angst:
A degree from Columbia University, and a same-sex partner, and two beautiful children and a white picket fence in suburbia, will still never garner you the acceptance of approximately 50% of the United States of America, and approximately 100% of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  That degree never bought you a ticket into society, and it never will.   For President Obama, being African American, will never get him acceptance from bigotry from a certain segment of the population, even though he lives in the White House.

Third Reason for Angst:
Just because…Generally people with a questioning mind, and a love of learning are generally angst ridden.  Its not because your LGBTQ, it’s because you are smart.  Just accept that and don’t try to cure it.  Its as much a part of you and your hair, or your eyes or the fact that you like to read the Almanac cover to cover. (that is just me and I am proud of it)

Knowing the reasons for your angst will not make the angst go away, and perhaps your reasons are more in-depth or more complicated.  But the point is to understand the sources of trouble and move in powerful ways to take all the potential and intelligence and ambition you were given, and make a difference, for yourself, your family, your community and your world.

Eric Horwitz, CC ’90

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