Tisch freshman recognized for averageness

Courtesy of Philip Kim


CollegeHumor, a comedy website attracting over 15 million unique viewers per month, announced the two winners of the CollegeHumor Average Student Scholarship Contest last week. Instead of being based on scholarly achievement, the contest’s aim was to recognize “average” students based on their humor and originality.

The purpose of the scholarship, which closed on Feb. 1, was to find students who perform typically in an academic setting and reward them with a scholarship.

“We noticed that kids at the top and bottom of the class often get a lot of financial help with school, leaving all the [students] in the middle without any free money for school,” said Streeter Seidell, editor-in-chief of CollegeHumor. “So we thought we’d try to find the most average students and make their dreams come true.”

Students were judged on the averageness of their grade point average, extracurricular activities and non-academic lives, as well as the wittiness of their applications. Two winners and four runners-up were named. The two winners each received $5,000, and the runners-up received recognition. The second runner-up, Phillip Kim, is a freshman in the Tisch School of the Arts.

The film major said the highlight of his daily routine is a game of Tetris everyday at 5 p.m. To demonstrate, he also included a video of himself playing the game in his application. 

“Tetris is the most mundane aspect of my life, yet I can’t stop playing it,” Kim said. “I felt that it captured an accurate depiction of my average life as a college student.”

CollegeHumor believed that Kim’s Tetris playing demonstrated something more than average.

“The regular Tetris playing showed a level of commitment and interest in an activity that just pushed Phillip a little too close to exceptional territory,” Seidell said.

Although Kim did not win the contest, applying allowed him to acknowledge aspects of his life he had not known before.

“No one likes to talk about their boring, mundane lives,” Kim said. “This scholarship helped me realize and embrace that there are things in our lives that aren’t amazing and cutting-edge.”

Steinhardt professor Judith Green said the scholarship is useful because it recognizes those who don’t shine in a particular subject.

“I think it is a great idea to recognize students who may not necessarily excel academically,” Green said. “It emphasizes the importance of skills and attributes that may not be evidenced through a test or other traditional measures.”

Kim stated that accepting less interesting aspects of one’s life means people need to be true to one’s self and a sense of humor.

“We hide these average activities through Instagram filters or well-structured Facebook statuses,” he said. “I don’t think I or anyone wants to live a completely average life, but I guess it’s also healthy to laugh at the boring parts of lives instead of denying it all the time.”

The winners of the scholarship were David Timothy Cole, a sophomore at Ball State University, and Jordan Bass, a freshman at  the University of Central Florida.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb 26 print edition. Neela Qadir is a deputy university editor. Email her at [email protected]