I want to thank everyone who has been with me during my time as a columnist. I appreciate your readership whether you’ve been following me every Thursday or if this is your first encounter.
This will be my last column.
No, I’m not retiring or quitting — although I do get pretty disgruntled when my pieces come back from editing with new errors.
You can relax. The picture of my cheesing face will be on page nine every week until May, but I just didn’t want to wait until then to say goodbye.
If I did, I would probably make some subconscious and desperate attempt to get you to notice me one last time. That’s why I’m getting it out of the way now, so my last byline in the Tribune won’t be accompanied by some big phony sendoff.
Saying “stay gold, Ponyboy” only works a few times anyhow.
Truthfully, I’m saying goodbye today because I’m not upset about it yet. And by that time, I’ll probably have no idea what to say. I do now, though.
We go through undergraduate study as an experimental time to find ourselves, but in our minds we think we’re finding out what we want to do.
So when I collect my degrees in journalism and philosophy this May, those papers will merely be the things I worked for during the lesser part of my time at Marquette. In actuality, I spent more time reflecting on, forgetting about and sorting through all the things in my life I believe(d) were important.
That’s how we all do it. We can only experience each moment once, and each time it happens, we’re in a unique position without being able to examine it until later.
Unfortunately, my graduating class has to live with being the one that allowed the “Let’s go warriors” chant (after the first tip-off at every home game) to die out. You think we knew we were dropping the ball? That’s life.
Yet, life isn’t really made up of a ton of moments, but one giant moment instead. Those moments in the past don’t exist anymore, and moments in the future don’t exist yet. There’s only right now.
So do something about it. It’s cool to discover yourself, but it won’t mean anything until you invent yourself.
Even for freshman, the time will come when college is in the past, and the degrees we earn are not going to entitle us to anything — unless we go after it.
Honestly. The only way we’ll ever become the people we want to be is if we start to be them right now. That’s a powerful thought, like a modified Gandhi–ism: “Be the change you want to see in yourself.”
Of course, I don’t think self-invention should mean reconstructing yourself at the expense of abandoning things in life that make you happy. As I head to study graduate journalism next fall, I’m confident I’ll always love the following: skiing, the Phillie Phanatic, dogs, eating kiwi with a spoon, skipping stones, Oxford commas, and prolonged eye contact.
What I mean is that if you truly want to make something in your life happen, you can’t just put it on a to-do list. You have to start doing it.
If I’m ever going to stop feeling so bloody anxious like someone is watching me suspiciously when I leave Walgreens after I didn’t purchase anything because they didn’t have what I wanted, I have to stop it right now.
A change like that requires no less effort than what’s needed to become successful: making its beginning a reality in this exact moment.
Don’t worry, Marquette provides us with enough sense to be OK in the long run. And besides, being careful isn’t always worth it. Sometimes, even if you’re super careful beyond belief, you still completely rip the cardboard on a cereal box when you open it the first time.
So that’s that.
I wish you all the best, insofar as it doesn’t interfere with my best.