I always thought I’d be excited to leave college. Very excited. Either that or I’d be pissed and want to stay forever, wallowing in this short four-year limbo of thinking about the rest of your life, but being able to ignore it for a good chunk of the time.
I’m not really excited or upset. I haven’t really decided what I am, and I’m not even sure that there’s any kind of word that would describe the emotion I’ve been feeling lately. Foggy is the best word I can use that accurately sums up the way I’m feeling. Like nothing that’s going on is really happening, important or the intoxicants that seems to have seeped their way into my life as I get closer to graduation are taking over. Either way, it isn’t pleasant, nor is it all that unpleasant. It just is. My life has taken a turn for the “now” and I can’t say whether I like it or not. I feel contradictory.
Probably the most jarring thing is that there are dozens of crazy things that my grandparents and parents used to say that sound less crazy as I get older. I’m realizing that all the old sayings that nearly everyone over the age of 30 threw at me while I was growing up (“Enjoy it now, you won’t be young long,” or “You think THIS year went by fast, wait until you’re older”) are said because they’re some of the few truths that are passed down generation by generation. I’ve also realized other things.
. That yes you can be regretful, nostalgic, proud, disappointed, sad, giddy, nervous, nauseous, excited and defeated, all at the same time.
. And that you can miss your friends and the place you’ve lived for four years before they’re even gone (because thinking about not seeing them is almost worse than not having them around) while, at the same time, being happier than you’ve ever been to leave it all behind.
I’ve also learned that it’s ok to ramble, which I’ve taken full advantage of through this piece, to the point that I’m not even sure that it will fit into the allotted column space. But that’s ok, it’s my last column and I couldn’t care less. All our lives we’ve been told not to follow the group, all the while being fit into our neat little molds so as not to rub anyone the wrong way and I figure since I’m graduating right after this column goes to print, I have nothing to lose.
My work for this publication is coming to a close and I can think of no better way to go out than a “column” written while drinking and thinking about what’s next.
Charles Bukowski said that “To do a dull thing with style-now THAT’S what I call art.” I can’t think of many things duller than modern-day journalism, and the fact that Bukowski also thought that your writing became boring once your parents liked it is equally important (’cause my mom will probably hate this).For a journalist to come close to despising journalism is a strange thing, but at the same time appropriate considering that today, most journalism is trash.
People have walked away from the types of journalism that mean something (in so much as H.S. Thompson meant something, or Tom Wolfe) and getting the story out now takes precedence over taking journalism to the level of some sort of art. Journalism has long been transformed into something more closely resembling the work of a factory technician or a riveter. New Journalism (which tried to mix journalism with literary elements) is almost dead and those that gave birth to it are slowing dying off. Very little makes me sadder.
While many of my fellow journalism students may disagree with me, as will, no doubt, my editor, journalism as we know it is dead. It’s not that no one cares, but the things written and cared about are pointless. CNN and the New York Times, both news dynamos, consistently drop the ball and write about the supposed sex-scandal in D.C. in an attempt to distract the nation from its real problems, whether consciously or not, instead of writing about a war that, despite all of our arguments and debate, is now about people dying, which no one seems to get. The 7-year old who was just blown up by a van filled with explosives doesn’t care whether or not you agree with this administration or not. He’s dead, like tens of thousands of Iraqi’s, for no reason other than pride, and media critics sit around and write about how President Bush stood in front of a victory banner four years ago.
Yeah, he was wrong but writing about how sweet it is that he messed up is almost as damaging. When a country cares more about the strength, weaknesses, wrongs and rights of both their president and their own arguments over the lives of their fellow man, something has gone horribly wrong.
I wanted this final column to be filled with some sort of advice to incoming freshman and current freshmen and sophomores but I don’t think I can give any better advice than to believe what you want to believe and go against anything that directly opposes what makes sense to you. Whenever anyone tells you you’re wrong, don’t believe them. When someone tells you you’re right, don’t believe them either, they probably just want you to like them. Do whatever feels right at the time and believe that things can be better and never fail to be idealistic. It may not get you many places and it may make people think you’re too set in your beliefs, but to do anything less than what you fully and truly believe is right for you is to die, and too many people around you are dead already for you to lay down and give up now.
You’re the future of yourself, your state, your country and your world and too many people have done what’s expected of them just to get by or make people like them. The inherent problem with things is that people do what they think other people think is right instead of doing what they know is right.
So, graduates of CSC, 2007, congratulations. My advice has been given and it’s probably not good. That, too, is ok, and so is whatever you’re doing after you leave here. Whatever people tell you, do what you want and know is right for you. And if you don’t know what’s right, do what you think is right and enjoy it. If nothing else, you’ll be happier knowing that what you did made you happy, at least for a little while, and everything you’re “supposed to do” is a waste of time. What a waste of a life, work. Which makes it both sad and liberating to know that I’m leaving Castleton for a world that I wake up to every day wanting to change, a world that is made all the better by the few incredible people that I’ve been lucky enough to not only have met, but made a part of my life.
No names here, if you think you’re one of them, you are. My only hope is to have done something in the next 30 years that I’m proud of and to have not become a part of everything I’m ashamed of.
So, graduates of 2007, do what you want and don’t fall in. Like what you like, love who you love, stay away from what you hate and do what you need to. We’re no more than what we think we are so shape yourself accordingly. Thanks for reading and hopefully we’ll meet again soon. In print, if nothing else.