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Dear Oppy: April Edition9 min read

Dear Oppy,

I’m stranded in a foreign country due to the pandemic, and I am trying to get some information on how to get back. I don’t speak the local language and I’m struggling to understand what is going on. Do you have any advice?


Locked in Translation

Locked in Translation,

Mezu automatizatua: Sentitzen dut, gure posta elektronikoko sistemak desagertuta daude. Bilatu webgunea eta jarri harremanetan gure ordezkariekin tokiko hizkuntza laguntza lortzeko. Itxaroteko denbora izugarriak izaten ari gara eta ez dugu ingelesez hitz egiten. Eskerrik asko Oppy maitea idazteagatik!


Dear Oppy,

My roommate and I have been spending way too much time together since Coronavirus shut down the city. We live in a 400 square foot studio and sleep in bunk beds (need to save money to fund our online degree program). We are normally good friends but have been fighting more and more. What do you suggest?

Quarin-tiny Apartment

Dear Apartment,

Online university courses have indeed skyrocketed in price of late. Many of us are feeling the pain of being locked down in close quarters in New York City. Solutions for peace and harmony, however, are simple. Start by stripping naked and walking around without clothes all day. If possible, cook tuna fish at every meal, while listening to loud music or blasting old episodes of any pawnshop-based TV show. Better yet, reruns of The Apprentice. Finally, watch porn loudly in the middle of the night. If you follow these suggestions carefully, your roommate will flee to his parent’s house in no time.

Stay Safe,


Dear Oppy,

With all this COVID-19 craziness, I feel like there is so much conflicting information in the news. Every outlet has different advice, and I do not know who to trust. What do you recommend?

Concerned and Confused

Dear Concerned,

In this time of crisis, there is only one trusted news source to rely on: The Stern Opportunity. With their interrogative journalists, cutting-edge international reporting, and award-winning advice column, there is no other journalistic publication that can even come close. In fact, the paper is making all their Coronavirus reporting 100% free in this time of uncertainty and fear. Be sure to check the Oppy each day for updates, send it to all your friends, and click on as many advertisements as possible for the most authentic news experience.

Happy Reading,


Dear Oppy,

What are best practices for attending classes via Zoom?

Corona Joe

Dear Joe,

Zoom is a wonderful tool that allows us to collaborate and be together while still working remotely. It also means you can abandon all traces of social decorum! Feel free to log on naked or from the toilet, or both! Never, ever, ever mute Zoom for any reason. People love learning about each other’s home lives so be sure to include your pets, children, spouses, roommates, whoever in each and every call. You can even give your classmates or coworkers a virtual tour of your home before starting any meeting. Everyone DOES care how the kitchen work is coming along! Finally, if you are embarrassed about the nude self-portrait paintings hanging in the background, Zoom allows you to add a digital background. Best practice is to choose an image that will instantly overwhelm the software, causing a distorted, flickering screen that obscures your face and makes you look like a pair of lips and glasses floating in a pixelated void.

Best of Luck,


Dear Oppy,

I’m dozing off in class the other night, and right when I least expected, I imagined my high school football coach stepping out of the void of the whiteboard and beaming a slant route at my heavy forehead.

I snap to, slapping the table, releasing an audible “what” into the unsuspecting room.

She pats her hand on the desk next to my placard.

“Who is this?” I ask, not sure outloud or in my head. This feels like a fever dream.

She leans over to me and begins to whisper softly in my ear about sale-and-lease-back deals, “it’s a partnership which isn’t engaged in business but merely receives a fixed return on capital investment through a conduit,” she sighs, “so the investor would only have to pay on an individual income tax.” Suddenly, any press for study or action, any comprehensive analyses that go beyond her personal testimony, I hereby considered redundant. 

All I need to do to pass this class, and potentially fix all the world’s problems, is to get to know this lovely young professional. 

We break into groups and I’m once more graced with her presence. She keeps looking at me like she’s smelling me with her eyes and she really likes my soap. It’s very distracting. But I peeped beyond her burning gaze and managed to at least outline our slides and divvy up responsibilities by 9. It was a fair effort. I’m sorry I was tired, and yes, a little hungover. 

I wake up the next morning to the following GroupMe:

  • Morning! my parts done. Lmk if you have any comments


I actually open the doc because, I don’t know, the morning already feels so productive, and I read her stuff. 

Set aside the fluffy pseudo academic hogwash I typically read in peer reviews. Here is a passionate, highly educated, and yes I’ll admit, very attractive girl who understands how important it is to say “implement” now and then. She made me want to say her sentences out loud. Let me relish their syllabic sweetness and rhythm.

And don’t get me started on her analysis. 

It was truly all encompassing, teasing with the lower lip of the data, guiding me in and out of each cocksure assumption, tracing with bated breath, up and down, to the back end of the bottom line. She finished with a great blast, a concussive force of ratios and insights, tied up with a bow of regurgitated class notes and ambiguity. She put it all out there, wet and open like a flower in the rain. I found myself flabbergasted, melting in her professional word heat. 

I sang her praises in the group chat and proceeded to get nothing done at work that day. All I could think about was how I was going to follow an act like that. I couldn’t just throw in the typical 5 forces and a pretty model and call it a day. There was more on the line now. I thought maybe I could just take what she wrote, chop it, flip it, rip it of it’s technical bits, replace it with my own flowery language and qualitative analyses and move it out the bando. We are all desperate and lonely and underpaid. Surely, a little sharing wouldn’t hurt.

No. That won’t do. We don’t go to Columbia. This is not a net you can slip through. You need to bring that wheeling dealing, P&L sphealing, obscure labor market data wielding, change-up-the-font-of-the-google-doc-type confidence to this assignment. I start spewing about how direct benefits of economic value-add don’t tell the whole story, and that the indirect benefits in terms of strategic positioning and stakeholder satisfaction may not be visible on the DCF but would emerge as key drivers in the firm’s penetration into the untapped Portland lumber market. 

I did okay. Like I said it was hard to focus that day. But we had more group projects, and that, in itself, was a blessing. 

She is truly a specimen with a case study. She can play a tune up and down through a financial statement, fingering the most shrouded, sensitive, and financially erogenous touchpoints. “Which are different for every class, case, and company, of course!” I wanted to puke. 

Every professor has their special theme song they want you to sing in their papers. You take their baseline and improve with new combines and a melody of supporting references and figures. Some of them even enjoy a little taste of the unknown. Slip a little Behavioral Econ lengua in their ear on your next submission, I bet it receives some enthusiastic remarks. Sometimes they like a little tie-up of academic discord that breaks through and crashes together in a conclusion of hot sweet impact. She is a master at this, and she sang our song of a lumber company’s cash flow problems to a check plus crescendo. 

Remote classes tick me off. We need to be back in the classroom together. Any advice?



Dear Lumber,

Indeed, remote classes can be tough! However, with a few easy tricks, you’ll be ready for your first time doing it online.

  1. Get Comfortable – Make sure your setup is comfortable – whether it’s in your kitchen, bedroom, or sometimes, the couch. Your workstation should also have some privacy, unless you like it when others watch.
  2. Personalize Your Hub – Make sure to gather everything you need at your workstation to help get the job done – lotion (no dry hands), tissues or wipes (keep your desk clean), snacks, gatorade, and a notepad. Make sure your machine has protection – now is no time for a computer virus!
  3. Get into a Rhythm – Setting a routine can help make this experience less strange. Wake up, engage in a vigorous activity, and enjoy a delectable meal before starting your virtual day. These regular beats of the day can bring you to a powerful climax of productivity that I am certain will leave your new study partner satisfied.
  4. Dress for the Job – the practice of logging on with whatever you wore the night before can seem seductive, but getting dressed up lends a more professional, polished, and appealing ambiance to the work day. Slip into something more comfortable after hours.
  5. Take a Breather – Just like experts recommend for a normal work day, getting up regularly for a short break can clear your mind, spur creativity, and open you to experimenting or trying new things.
  6. Send News – Keep in very close touch with the special people in your life. There has been no better time to get into the habit of daily video chats. Furthermore, sharing builds deep intimacy when it gets really, really hard. Even a simple selfie can arouse warm feelings between two lonely, locked down Langone acquaintances.
  7. Grab Drinks – meeting after work or school to virtually drink is a great way to blow off steam and lower inhibitions, fostering deeper connections. This might help you collaborate more closely with your study group.
  8. Take it to the Bedroom – At the end of a long day, relax and hit the hay early. You should be in bed all night long.

Best of Luck,


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