To fellow PAE and SYPA Survivors – Now that the horrors of the PAE and SYPA are behind us, it’s time for reflection on what we just spent 9 months thinking about (and 1 month of actually doing). In essence, the PAE and SYPA represent the mission of HKS perfectly: “ask what you can do” (not “ask what you can get paid for”). The purpose of the PAE and SYPA are to set your expectations so low for pay (i..e nothing) that any salary after graduation seems like a blessing. Ultimately, by forcing unpaid labor upon the student body, it’s time to accept that the quality of the output is undoubtedly diminished, as there is little incentive to produce really high-caliber work. Nothing in life is free, and this simple concept was clearly forgotten during the inception of these projects. So what do we do now? Firstly, we could turn in poorly-done PAEs. This, I fathom, has already been done by myself and my peers. Secondly, it’s time to have a frank conversation with the administration on the purpose of the PAE and the real value it brings to clients. Given that even seminar leaders agree that no one will ever read your PAE (woe), the moment is ripe for change. As the anguish of the PAE is still fresh in our minds, I’d recommend everyone to speak now or forever hold their peace.
Dear Retreater – As someone who generally brings his backpack as a plus one to events, I simply cannot relate to your dilemma. Life must be very hard for you as you have an upcoming fun cohort event AND someone you’re seeing 🙁 Thus, I’m going to have to dedicate all my life’s resources to your conundrum. I’d urge you to think less in terms of quantity of dates and more in terms of quality (basically the opposite of how graduate students approach food). One high-quality date holds more clout than a million poor dates. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether your dates have been compelling enough to bring this individual to social events. If the answer is yes, great – you’re set. If the answer is no, my Jansport backpack is always available to join you for retreats and other social engagements.