Alumni Shadows: A Day in the Life of a Vanderbilt Philosophy Alum


Last week in our featured Alumni series, we caught up with a former Vanderbilt finance student who now works as a Wall Street broker, Julian van der Money. This week, we follow Chad Bradwick, a recent philosophy graduate, through a day in his exciting post-grad life.

Chad now lives roughly twenty minutes from downtown Chicago. After graduating, he decided to move back to the suburbs with his parents until he found a job related to his major in Ancient Greek philosophy. He stayed in his Transformers-themed childhood bedroom for a few years until his parents came home one day to find a permanent outdoor bouncy house complete with “Chad” spelled across the front in diamonds. After this incident, his parents cut him off and kicked him out until he pays them back the nearly half million dollars he spent, (a measure he believes is “like totally uncool bro”).

I caught up with Chad for the first time in his Forest Park residence, one he described as a “1/4 story wrought iron masterpiece.” I wandered around the beautiful Midwestern park for a few hours until I came across a huddled gray mass in a Canada Goose jacket. Chad lay curled up fetus-style on a park bench adorned with an advertisement for Chicago’s most popular new bar, Urban Gentrification. A small stack of Chick-Fil-A sauces lay piled at his feet, as a public reinforcement of his traditional family values.

After a few minutes of being poked by a stick, Chad slowly lifted his head to face me, week-old cheeto crumbs spilling from his neckbeard. “What is this? Who are you again?” Chad asked, drowsily checking the date on his monogrammed rose-gold Apple watch. When I reminded him about his interview for The Slant, he brightened, letting out a barbaric “Oh word! Anchor the FUCK down!” He continued, describing in detail how he peaked during an LSD trip in the Rana’s bathroom his sophomore year when he swears he discovered the 14.5th “intercostal space,” which definitely does not mean what he thinks it means.

“My plans for today? It’s a Friday so I’m gonna go chill at work, gotta get that bread, and then find a nice bar to chill with some of my frat bros who live up here. We’re still super tight in the brotherhood! You know there was this one time…” Chad continued about his fraternity brothers for the next few hours, concluding with the customary, “so basically I just really, really like beer. There’s nothing wrong with that.” He got up from the bench, stretching in a way that can only be described as sweaty middle school gym teacher with a pedostache, before declaring that it was time for me to accompany him to work.

Crammed behind Chad on the Lime Scooter he bullied a high school senior into paying for, I asked him about how his Vanderbilt experience shaped his career path. “Yeah, Vandy is really great! I grew a lot while I was there for sure. I think my experiences in the philosophy major were the most valuable because I learned how to think, a skill I didn’t possess before I got to Vanderbilt.”

I followed up by asking Chad about how philosophy influences his life today. “I think my degree definitely made me more marketable to potential employers, like I just applied to this blog called ‘Astrology and Stuff’? My dream job has always been to write vaguely existential horoscopes for teenage girls, so I’m super psyched.” He paused briefly to shoo a pigeon away from the Chick-Fil-A sauce he was eating for breakfast before musing, “Extracurricularly I was the president of VUCept exec board and that really honed my people skills, which is super useful for my current job,” before pulling into a Wendy’s parking lot.

Ducking behind the dumpster, Chad pulled out a monogrammed drawstring bag of his “work stuff”: a pit-stained Wendy’s uniform and a juul loaded with a limited-edition “tears of minorities” flavored juul pod. Sprinting through the emergency exit, he spent the next 23 minutes in the bathroom perfecting his hair before running into his manager. “Dude, Chad, you’re a day and a half late. You were supposed to come in two days ago, I can’t have you work here anymore man. This is the fourth time you’ve done this. Also, I’m tired of telling you to stop calling everything we sell ‘Plebeian food.’”

Chad thanked his manager for the opportunity before leaving in decidedly good spirits given that he was now out of a job, a home, and a sense of smell which he’d lost in a tragic deep-fryer incident. On our two-hour walk back to his bench, he told me all about his decision to work at Wendy’s. “I had to run there 25 times a day during pledge, so it’s really nostalgic for me. I remember this one time back at the house…” as he launched into another fond tirade about his time being borderline assaulted in a Vanderbilt fraternity.

Back in Forest Park, Chad and I bid our farewells. He decided that he’d like to spend the rest of the day courting Lucy, a rat he has taken a particular liking to (“Hey not in a weird way. Don’t make it seem like it’s weird, it’s not, I just like kinda want to have sex with her but like I won’t! I won’t so it’s not weird. It’s not my fault that she reminds me of a human woman.”) It’s only as I turn back towards Chad, on his stomach and covered in as much rat fur as he could find, that I finally understand how diverse the post-grad experience can be. Anchor down, Wall Street brokers and homeless “rat-enthusiasts” alike.

  • March 14, 2019