Kurtz: What little I’ve learned


Michael Kurtz, Columnist

This is my penultimate column, so I figured that now would be as good a time as any for the obligatory retrospective on what I’ve learned during my time at Northwestern. The answer is: Not much. There are, of course, all kinds of things that I’d include were this not a family newspaper, but I’m saving those for my memoirs.   

  1. The nicest bathrooms on campus are the ones in the Harris Hall basement, hands down. The worst, by far, are the ones just past info commons on the first floor of the library. They’ve got no ventilation, so you have to hold your breath like James Bond when he was fighting that guy underwater at the end of “Skyfall.”
  1. Shaking car keys at state school opposition during football games sends the worst possible message about NU students.
  1. The library has an absolutely fantastic collection of movies, documentaries and TV shows, everything from “Fight Club” to  “Waiting for Superman” to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and beyond. Best of all, it’s free, and the return dates aren’t too strict. So take advantage — it’s cheaper than Netflix!
  1. “He or she who is skilled at math and/or science” has a pretty generous overlap with “he or she who is employed well before the end of senior year.” This is worth keeping in mind, especially for freshmen and sophomores who are still finding their way. That being said, it’s also a bad idea to major in something or pursue a certain career just to impress people; unless you’ve got both the aptitude and the interest, don’t bother.
  1. The Associated Student Government presidential election in the spring is full of sound and fury, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I have trouble coming up with, off the top of my head, tangible improvements that our elected officials have made in student life.
  1. Anything labeled “Seitan” in any of the dining halls is worth avoiding at all costs.
  1. The Nutella shake at Edzo’s is arguably God’s greatest gift to man.
  1. A nice long schvitz in the SPAC sauna is one of NU’s underrated pleasures.
  1. As surely as the sun rises in the east, construction on this campus will never cease.
  1. As you get older, Nevin’s supplants the Keg as a destination for libation.
  1. When picking classes, the course title/number (and what it suggests about your intellect when you tell your friends what you’re taking) is a lot less important than what the specific course does for your degree/intellectual development/career goals. Also, it’s good to keep in mind whether or not a certain class lends itself to getting to know the professor on a substantial level. To the extent that I have any regrets, it’s that I didn’t forge more connections in that regard.
  1. International Student Association World Cup is completely exhilarating. My only fear is that all subsequent forms of adult sports recreation will pale in comparison.
  1. The kids who do Dance Marathon are totally insane in the very best sense of that word. There is literally nothing I would ever want to do for 30 hours consecutively.
  1. Despite the preponderance of ambitious Political Science majors on this campus, hardly anybody knows their immediate alderman or engages in any substantial way with local politicians.
  1. The senior thesis is best understood as long-form agony; write one at your peril! I finally know how Prometheus felt on that rock, but at least he had the satisfaction of having stolen from the gods.
  1. If you’re reading this (which I highly doubt you are), remember not to take anything any Daily columnist says too seriously!

Michael Kurtz is a Weinberg senior. He can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].