Live to Work, Work to Live…

The Enviable Tenacity of Paris Eustice Geller

paris

Paris Geller – a girl many look up to, yet fear at the same time. She’s extremely bright, surprisingly bi-lingual, a Yale graduate, and often times exudes Stalin-esque leadership skills. And there’s a part of me that wishes I had all of these qualities. Did I mention she’s a fictional character?

For those not in the Gilmore Girls know-how, Paris Geller is truly one of a kind. When we first meet Paris, she is the popular mean girl at the well-privileged private school Rory transfers to. Paris targets Rory and makes her her enemy because she’s the only one who could possibly compete with Paris intellectually, and vie for the Valedictorian spot come senior year. I have never seen a character on tv as studious, determined, hard-working, and ruthless as her. Some prime examples:

– Paris reveals to Rory she’s been volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity-like organization for years, because that’s what will get her into Harvard. “I started volunteering in fourth grade. I handed out cookies at the local children’s hospital. By ten, I was leading my first study group. The youngest person in the group was twelve. I’ve been a camp counselor. I organized a senior illiteracy program, I worked a suicide hotline, I manned a runaway center. I’ve adopted dolphins, taught sign language, trained seeing eye dogs.” This concerns Rory. She hasn’t done any of those things.

– In an attempt to gloat about her PSAT scores, Paris brags about her results to her friends, but when she asks Rory, she doesn’t oblige, and this drives Paris nuts. She knows Rory’s hiding her probably much higher score from her, and she even pulls a Mean Girls 3 way call scenario on her just to find out.

– When writing for the Yale Daily News’ Religion Beat, Paris goes hardcore when writing an article. “Look, Rory, if you want to crib your articles from the A.P. Wire, that’s your business. I, on the other hand, actually give a rat’s ass about journalistic integrity. When I write about Ramadan, I experience Ramadan. Are you chewing gum?

Throughout high school, Paris’s goal was to get into Harvard. When that didn’t pan out, she ended up going to Yale and becoming BFFs with Rory. She then spent all 4 years in college focusing on her next step, which was going to either med school or law school (she was so smart she could’ve taken up both professions, but she decided to be a doctor instead). Paris even created an extensive plan for her and Rory called “Operation Finish Line,” planning out in detail the last 5 months of their senior year. These boards included categories such as job fairs, tests, volunteer ops, seminars, classic college activities, etc. Most were legit (MCAT test prep classes) but others were default tactics, so as to not be unprepared come graduation (oceanography fellowship – ‘don’t even know what direction the ocean is in’).

THIS IS NOT HUMAN. Maybe this is how Type A Ivy Leaguers do it, but I can’t even begin to think about how much work she put into making those boards.* It’s crazy to think that there’s even a slight possibility someone out there in real life has mapped out an entire 5 month detailed plan of what they’ll do after they graduate college.**

This is not how I ever have or probably ever will treat an important life changing decision in my life. Frankly, I’m a little jealous. If I even had an ounce of what Paris had, I would probably have my act together and be 4 years into my ‘professional career’. But I’m not. I made no chart. I attended no seminars. I took no extemporaneous tests. The most I’ve ever done is make a pro and con list to decide whether to move to Los Angeles or not (embarassingly enough after Rory Gilmore’s decision making tactics). Even though I think Paris looks like a complete lunatic taking these extra steps in order to plan out her life, that’s precisely what I need right now. I need to figure out exactly what I want and create a clear cut goal to achieve. I need that rather annoying persistent determination to get it. I need to see the exact steps I have to take in order to reach that goal. I need to want to do all those things. Most of all, I need Paris to make these boards, and tell me what to do next, because i sure as hell don’t know myself. So if you’re out there, real life Paris, let me know. Because I could really use your help right now. Fictional Paris just isn’t going to cut it.

* I am fully aware this is not a real person

** Again, I can totally see an Ivy Leaguer doing this, but i went to Emerson. Unless it’s a storyboard for the movie you’re making, you didn’t do this.

[Ed. Note: I originally wrote this about two years ago when I was working at a job I hated going to every morning. I am pleased to say I have embraced my inner-Paris and happily work at a place where I don’t mind getting up for. There you have it folks, Geller tenacity pays off once in a while.]