In a bittersweet story developing out of Minneapolis, 25-year-old Naomi Bernthal just read a paper she wrote in undergrad and realized she actually used to be smart.
“I was opening a spreadsheet for work but ended up perusing some old college essays: research papers, response papers, reflections,” says Naomi. “They were so interesting. I couldn’t believe the person who wrote them is me.”
While Naomi describes her current day job as “not worth explaining”, she was happy to discuss the college essays.
“This paper on the Protestant Reformation and yielding literary bias as a tool to delegitimize liberation theology in 20th century America is fascinating,” Naomi says. “So well researched, such well connected arguments! I can almost remember understanding what this means.”
“Hm, I don’t think I’ve learned anything for over three years,” Naomi adds.
Despite Naomi’s firm stance that her years of acquiring and processing knowledge are long behind her, she faces some detractors.
“I think she’s being a bit dramatic,” says ‘friend’ Terra Knight. “Student life can’t last forever, plus it’s not like she can’t keep learning new things independently.”
Naomi, however, was appalled by this accusation.
“Of course I can’t!” she says. “Sure, I’ve read some books since I graduated, seen some art, listened to some podcasts. But it all slides clean off of my smooth, smooth brain. I’m just another cog in the machine now, fighting my way through the trappings of bureaucracy and existence.”
Wow. You really do never know a good thing till it’s gone.
“I guess now that I’m 25 I should just accept that the best years of my life are long behind me, get on some SSRIs that will stop me from thinking about it too hard, and work my way up the corporate ladder while spending 3 days per month considering grad school,” Naomi says.
“Goodbye, critical thinking. It was nice knowing you, however briefly.”
When reached for comment, Naomi’s college professors did not remember who she was.