Metcalfs: Only the divine need apply here

By Patrick Burke

“You have not been pre-selected for an interview at this time. Please continue submitting resumes.” How familiar has this slogan become for so many U of C students this lonely, jobless winter? Even if one is fortunate enough to attain the sacrosanct status of “pre-select,” the dispassionate e-mail vaguely discussing a deficiency of qualifications all too often will relegate the hopeful back into “Metcalf Purgatory.” U of C students are persistent, however, perhaps to a degree verging upon masochism. Résumé after cover letter is sent, each followed by a more mysterious and inexplicable rejection. Are U of C students truly worthy? Should the relatively mediocre simply delegate the search for a job to those among them with the most heartrending community service experiences? Should the elite members of CAPS, recruited for their innate excellence and dedication to career advising from around the world, honestly have to be subjected to such a high degree of thoroughly futureless applicants?

Who exactly Jeff Metcalf was, few truly know. All that is known is that his fellowship program would certainly be forever defiled if even several thousand of his individually blessed dollars from the voluminous, stainless steel Metcalf Vault were to fall into the wrong hands. There was a scare several years ago when a U of C student, outspokenly pursuing the Metcalf Fellowship mainly for monetary gain, slipped passed the eyes of an otherwise vigilant CAPS sentry to be not only pre-selected, but also to make it as far as a second round interview. Most fortunately, the student’s dark motives were exposed at the last second moments before receiving several thousand dollars to work as a summer intern in the auspicious Jeff Metcalf Fellows Program: Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap.

Many who have been summarily rejected from Metcalf have complained that they were not made aware of their unworthiness early enough along in the application process. Such arguments are certainly without the slightest justification. U of C students can swing by CAPS any day of the week to be reminded of their blatant, irrevocable mediocrity. CAPS specifically ensures a great deal of employee turnover within its office so that no counselor may become inappropriately attached to a student, on a human level. The 20 to 30–minute time gap between the interview time a given student signs up for and the appearance of the CAPS counselor is alone enough to assist an unworthy job-seeker in awakening to his general inappropriateness for a Metcalf—or any other, job for that matter.

The fact of the matter is, if you do not have a Metcalf before the winter application and selection process commences, you are not worthy for one. Those who ultimately attain a Metcalf do not apply via the secular device that is InterviewTrak. Those worthy of a Metcalf are pre-selected long before the application process even begins. It is similar to perhaps the NBA or NFL draft. If you have not heard from a team before draft day, you have no business writing your name on the list of eligible candidates. To compare the Metcalf Fellows program to the NBA or NFL, however, is surely to do it a grave injustice. Metcalf holders were on this island long before our plane ever crashed here. For us to attempt to painstakingly scour the island for the Metcalf, to seek to attain something truly beyond our understanding, is frankly irresponsible both in an individual and universal sense. Let the Metcalf Fellows program no longer be encumbered by inferior applications and cover letters. Give CAPS, the enlightened protectors of all that is Metcalf, some peace of mind. Apply for a managerial position at your local fast-food restaurant or perhaps a nifty temp job. The Metcalf remains forever elusive and should be solely exalted rather than sought after by laypeople.