Witty perspective offered in “Swearing Off the Modern Man”
Santa Monica College student Jochebed (Jo) Smith was one of four finalists in the
New York Times Modern Love College Essay Contest. In “Swearing Off the Modern Man,”
she takes a witty, stripped-down look at the contrasts and overlaps in modern and
old–school approaches to dating, developing relationships, and simple communication.
“Jo’s voice really comes through in that essay, and so does her talent,” said SMC
English instructor Joelle Adams. “I wasn’t aware that Jo was writing a piece for
contest, but I’m not surprised that she did, or that she placed as a finalist. She’s always stood out as a very engaged student, with insightful questions and comments.
Jo has demonstrated determination and insight in all of her work for my classes.”
“This whole thing happened because I was browsing social media late one night, and
saw a tweet about the Modern Love contest,” said Smith. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow! I have plenty of material to work from for this, and everything that hurts and is awful will
be funny in time,’ so I decided to take the challenge.”
An art history major, Smith said, “I’m really thrilled. This is the first piece I
feel I’ve ever really finished.”
Smith works at the Hammer Museum, and her current favorite artist is British architect and designer Thomas Heatherwick. “But I love any type of creative expression,” she
said, adding that her plans include incorporating acting back into her life.
Smith said she enrolled at SMC because “I’m shooting for UCLA, and this seemed like
the best and fastest way to get there.” Her goal is to apply next fall for transfer
in 2016 to continue her studies in art history at UCLA.
Smith’s essay – online at www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/style/swearing-off-the-modern-man.html – was published under the headline “The Allure of an Old-School Romance” –
in the Sunday national edition of the New York Times (page ST6) on May 17, 2015.
The Modern Love College Essay Contest – a feature of the New York Times Modern Love column dedicated to reader-submitted essays exploring the ups and downs of love – attracted works from almost 1,800 students from 489 colleges and universities nat-
ionwide, according to Daniel Jones, the column’s editor and the author of “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (With the Help of 50,000 Strangers).”
Photos & Captions:
Jo-Smith-NYT.jpg OR Jo-Smith-NYT-1.jpg: Santa Monica College student Jochebed (Jo) Smith holds a copy of the New York Times with her essay “Swearing Off the Modern Man,” selected as one of the four finalists in the Modern Love College Essay Contest.