Ah, the random thoughts of the college senior. Indeed, for me, the thought process is scattered as I struggle to narrow down an idea for the final Campus Times column of my college career. Attempting to scribble down all of the last minute things to do before this semester is up, I jotted down “write last column” on my “things to do” list and now I stare at this computer screen that has memorized my mug. After all, this Macintosh Power PC has stared back at me every day for the last three years.
It seems like there should be so much to say, summing up what this newspaper means to me and what I hope I have done through expressing my sometimes unwanted opinion here every week, but I am left, for the first time, at a loss for words. I do not think it is writer’s block. I think I am blocking out sentimental feelings.
As a senior, you begin exchanging sweet sadness for bitter apathy. Everything has that adjective “last” attached to it and you convince yourself it is a good thing. There is the last move into the dorms, the last class registration, the last FAFSA to fill out, the last GE class. For me, this “last column” experience is just another rite of passage and I am typing as fast as I can to get the sacred experience over with.
I could quote the ever-popular Ferris Bueller and tell freshmen, as every “wise” senior does, that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it,” but, as I speed through this important moment, I would be a hypocrite.
We just do not live college life that way, smelling the roses. We live it complaining that we do not have enough money for Taco Bell, and that we cannot find our meal cards and that we cannot believe we have procrastinated another paper and that we need quarters for laundry, gasoline and shampoo.
The average response to “How are you?” is “I am tired.”
Maybe that is the beauty of college. Maybe someday I will tell my kids that college was a blur of poverty, fatigue, rumors and lectures, but that it was a good time.
I will show them yellowed newspapers and listen to them squeal at how stupid I looked with this haircut.
Maybe, then, I will be more sentimental about the experience. Instead, I now join the other seniors and I am bitter, confused and scared.
It is a scary world out there, especially with little job security and 20 grand in loans to pay back. It is scary to print out that resume and send it out and not get a call back. It is scary to leave a small, nice place like La Verne and go into a big, mean world.
Not that ULV has always been sweet and kind, but it has been cordial. It has done the job. I will soon wear that black mortar board and get my diploma and begin the road of more poverty, more payments to more banks and maybe I will get to the point where I will be completely fulfilled.
I suppose that is what we are all trying to do. We want fulfillment. We get up and shower, and park the car and walk into class and take notes and finals for the sake of our own fulfillment.
And now, sitting in this warm computer lab, I wonder what all of these words mean.
Maybe nothing, and maybe the 80 some columns and stories with my by-line have, too, meant nothing, but I have to admit that I hope they have meant something to you.
Hopefully I have made you think, made you angry or made you smile. Hopefully this timely literature has been fair and accurate and even thought-provoking.
For the journalist, fulfillment comes from the power of information and spinning the long hours of typing and research into the silky sight of changes made for the better.
I suppose I can leave ULV thinking the hundreds of hours have done this, but I also know that I am not Rapunzel.
ULV is not a fairy tale and neither is the real world, but then again fulfillment never came from the fantasy of getting things the easy way.
Andrea Gardner, a senior broadcast journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.