In 2006, I was a young professional 20-something, newly arrived to Los Angeles with degrees from Yale and the University of Chicago School of Law. My college days were filled with intellectually curious people, engaged in the world and passionate about their dreams, work and goals. I soon founded The Ivy Plus Society (TIPS) — a social- and professional-networking organization for grads from Ivy League schools and other academically rigorous institutions.
TIPS was born of a desire to gather a similar community of grads and to foster the opportunity for continued connections in the real world. Life brings many opportunities to meet brilliant, exceptional people; TIPS was created with the idea that this would be one such platform.
Do I agree with Princeton alumna Susan Patton when she argues that female undergrads at elite universities should find a husband on campus stat, because they will never again be surrounded by such a “concentration of men who are worthy” of them?
Of course not.
(VOTE: Does “Princeton Mom” have a point? )
Patton asserts that she is sharing “what you really need to know that nobody is telling you,” that she is dishing out a secret truth that is being kept from smart women. I don’t know a single woman who has somehow missed the memo that she is supposed to meet Prince Charming and settle down in her Barbie Dream House. I think that message is reaching women loud and clear, and it is most certainly not the one society needs to drive home to talented, young women headed for college.
Trust me: They’ve heard it, and they’ll continue to hear it until they’re married (and then they’ll hear endlessly about the supreme joy of motherhood . . .).
I agree that elite universities are full of amazing people, and it’s a lovely idea to build relationships with your classmates and the alumni. But I think there is plenty of time to find and choose a life partner after graduation.
Looking back at my 18-year-old freshman self, the idea that I would have been ready to meet my husband is absurd. Any notion I would have had about who my life partner should be would have been entirely wrong and ridiculous — thank goodness I didn’t waste my time at Yale trying to figure that one out.
I didn’t meet my husband until years after graduation. Although we were both in school at the University of Chicago at the same time, we never met on campus. We met in L.A. on eHarmony and discovered we had a number of mutual friends, including some I knew through TIPS.
Unless you graduate and proceed to hide under a rock and pursue a thoroughly uninteresting life, the world will continue to bring a universe of outstanding people into your orbit. If you graduate from Princeton (or any school) and never again meet anyone “worthy of you,” well, maybe you should get out more.
The advice I will give my kids — boys and girls — when they are headed for college will be this: Your classmates will be extraordinary. Cherish the opportunity to build meaningful friendships during this magical time on campus. Learn from your peers, be inspired and challenged by them, and arrive with a generous and open heart. And, by the way, take this advice into every setting you enter, because everyone has something extraordinary if you take the time to find it.
Anderson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago School of Law. She is the Los Angeles-based vice president of business development for Siemer and Associates.