Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

‘I will smile on my way’

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Jason Green
Bernell Dorrough

When I was asked to write an article capturing my experience at Washington University I wanted to transcribe a testimonial about the euphoria I felt the first time I stepped on campus, and how the spirit of WU spoke to my inner child and that I immediately knew my time here would be well spent. I wanted to relate a sentimental tale of my how my first collegiate moments pulled me from the destitute state of homesickness and satiated me with WU’s sense of community. Well, that was what I wanted to do, but I hesitate to say that I remember the first time I stepped foot on campus, because honestly, I can’t say that I do. But maybe it is not because I am getting old and senile, though I am. Rather, perhaps I do not remember my first day on campus because I cannot remember or simply cannot relate to that person who first strode on campus in the summer of 1999.

What I remember very clearly are the experiences that have shaped the graduate I am today. A few weeks ago, I competed in the first annual Mr. Wash U Contest. My talent in the competition was spoken word, and near the close of my poem, I imparted, “As I leave these hallowed halls, I will smile on my way, with inner strength unparalleled from the interactions of each day.” The daily experi1ences are the treasures which I will carry with me as I leave. I still remember the feeling of failure after receiving my first Macro exam. But at the same time, I treasure the effort it took to achieve a position where I could appreciate the feeling of satisfaction and triumph after receiving my last. Concomitantly, I certainly recall my first all-night intellectual ‘talk.’ And as my stubbornness slowly turned to inquiry, I recognized that my perception of myself, others, and the issue being discussed had all been altered as a positive result of those around me. I have tagged and archived the best, worst, and in between moments of my four years. Though through much struggle, I am fortunate that my perspective has been challenged and enhanced, and that through these experiences I am better prepared for the vicissitudes of life.

Often I hear people talk about experience and experiences. Undoubtedly, in your post-undergraduate job or higher education search, you ran into the institutional appreciation of experience. On a form, or perhaps in a personal dialogue, interviewers inquire about your background to gauge your experience. Yet, to me, the more important question is not what you have done but how it affected you. I think Aldous Huxley put it best saying, “Experience . . . is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and coordinating. Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

I think that message is particularly pertinent now as we prepare to leave the comfort and security of this place. It is probable, ok, inevitable, that tumultuous times lay ahead. But you cannot let the thick fog of uncertainty change your course without an alternative path to attain your goals. Difficulty and failure are fixed signs on the streets of life; yet, embrace the experiences you will endure, the growth you will undoubtedly undertake, and the person you will become. And in the end, you may not remember the person you once were, but I’m sure you’ll always remember and cherish the experience.

In our time together there have been too many good times to mark the beginning and in the same sentimental logic, far too many unforgettables to risk marking the end. This is certainly not goodbye but just another experience to clip and include in your scrapbook of life. I’ll close this message to the graduating class in the same manner I concluded my poem in the Mr. Wash U Contest: “Each year, humbled in your presence; for you are all truly amazin’, I wish the Class of ’03 luck; much love, your friend Jason.”

Treasures we take with us

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Laura Mendiola
Bernell Dorrough

It is that time of year when the reality of it all finally hits. We are graduating. Although I have known this for a while, I guess I had kept myself too busy to let it sink in. With all the fun senior week activities going on around us, it is hard to avoid the inevitable – we will be leaving the place we have called home for the past four years. I find myself asking, what do I remember when I think of my past four years here? The truth is I remember the faces – the faces which were at times happy, which were at times sad and even at times pretty wild and crazy. The faces that I saw everyday in the many facets of my experience here at Washington University are what will stay with me as I move on with my life. Behind those faces are the people that I grew to know and love and the people who made my time at college a great learning experience.

The great thing about college life is that everyone gets to have a unique experience. Each person decides to dedicate their time to what they find to be the most exciting for them, whether it be academics, research, extracurricular activities, fraternities and sororities, religious groups, a group of friends or anything else that drives you. Most of the time, we are able to find a combination of things that define our experience and that strengthen us throughout our journey. I was lucky enough to find true friends and was able to dedicate my time to things that I felt passionate about.

My past four years here may have been very different from yours, but there is one thing we have in common…the community that is WU. Was it just me, or did you get the feeling of a great community when you came to visit as a PF or when you came for the first time as a freshman and met your freshman floor and RA. There is something about this place that just makes you feel at home and there is something about the people here that builds the atmosphere of a true community. What is it that gave me and possibly you this feeling? I think it is the fact that we constantly learn from each other. Every person that we meet teaches us something new not only about themselves but about the world beyond WU. The diversity of cultures and personalities that comes together at a university is phenomenal, and I hope that each of you has taken the opportunity to expand your horizons.

As we continue on and move forward with our lives, we will each take with us fragments of those around us. Even though we may not immediately realize it, we have each left significant impressions on each other. I know that there are so many people here who have impacted my life and have taught me valuable lessons…these are the treasures that we take with us. It is these treasures that will help define who we are and will allow our time at WU to live on forever. This will always be a community that is close to our hearts and we will always have that bond that is WU. The university will also have a piece of us because we have all left our marks in the many things we have excelled in. I wish each of you fond remembrances of your times here, and I wish each of you best of luck in all that you do.

‘Cafeteria food does not normally include a sushi bar’

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Cindy Chang
Bernell Dorrough

As we embark on new adventures and exciting post-graduate plans, we will encounter both pleasant and harsh realities of the “real world.” For four years, we have lived under the shelter of the “Wash U bubble,” often not cognizant of the world around us or easily avoiding confrontation with worldly issues. This is not dismissing the fact that many of our peers have served the St. Louis community in profound and meaningful ways. Rather, it is simply acknowledging that at the end of the day, we can all return to our relatively comfortable lives within the walls of Washington University. Although it may be difficult, here are a few realities we must face:

Every multi-million dollar building complex cannot be completed in two months. Washington University starts construction projects at the frequency that most campuses cut their lawns. None of us can remember a day when there wasn’t at least one ten-foot wall on campus encircling our latest addition-the Knight Center, Small Group Housing, Lab Sciences Building, Whitaker Hall, and Olin Library Renovations, just to name a few. And if you don’t take careful notice of your surroundings on campus, a building will rise before you know it (have you seen the new building on the corner of Skinker and Forest Park?). More often than not, you’ll find that outside the walls of our campus, construction projects may proceed painstakingly slow and WU’s back-breaking pace simply parallels our ascent up the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Cafeteria food does not normally include a sushi bar.

Like all college students, we have voiced our fair share of complaints concerning food on campus. Have you eaten at another campus or general cafeteria? The truth is, our food is ranked number one in the nation for a reason. While common cafeteria options include mac and cheese, mystery meats, and overcooked spinach, we feast on salmon salad sandwiches, paninis, a salad bar with three types of lettuce/mixed greens, and made-to-order omelets. If you don’t appreciate it now, just wait until your freezer is stocked with Budget Gourmet and Michalena’s.

There is no “free” parking ticket.

I don’t own a car, yet even I have taken advantage of the “free” parking ticket the Transportation Department grants for your first parking violation. If you are able to elude the ticketing enforcers for the remainder of the year, the first ticket magically disappears. However, if you aren’t so lucky, you must pay for your subsequent tickets as well as the first one. While this policy has been beneficial for many during the last four years, if you receive a parking ticket outside the jurisdiction of the Washington University Transportation Department, you must pay it or take legal action to challenge it. Otherwise, as a few of my friends have learned through experience, ignoring parking tickets may result in fines exceeding $200 (for a $5 ticket!) or even arrest warrants. (Note: You also cannot charge your fines to your student billing account).

The density of amazing people at WU far exceeds the national average.

I spent last summer in Washington, D.C., among the thousands of interns. Although it was not difficult to find individuals with impressive r‚sum‚s, it was far more arduous to meet people I wanted to befriend. My internship and residence kept me surrounded by a disproportionate number of lawyers and lawyer-wannabes, but it was then that I realized how unique the WU community is. Strangers hold doors open and smile in passing. People intellectually debate the war in Iraq one minute and play an intense game of Beirut the next. We compete with ourselves rather than one another. Unlike the previously stated realities, this notion is difficult to quantify because it is a connection that must be felt rather than simply observed. On this campus I have found the most incredible friends. People who challenge me to be grow and question who I am. Friends who remind me how to laugh and smile when I forget, forgive when I err, and defend me when I am wronged. These individuals have shaped how I see the world, and as we leave, I will miss the shelter of their friendships. Yet, wherever I go, I will always carry the spirit of their love, generosity, and kindness. I am already aware of how rare these friendships are, and unlike buildings, food, and parking tickets, they are a part of me that I can never leave behind.

Congratulations, Class of 2003!

The name game

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Lisa Goldstein

I’ll be honest. I’ve been dreading writing this column for months already. Just because I didn’t want it to be another one of “those” columns. You know the type-there’s probably one sitting a couple inches away from mine. It’s the one that says, basically, “I can’t believe we’re graduating…it’s sad but exciting at the same time.”

So instead, I thought I’d go back in time and tell the story of how I met my freshman year roommate (the other “L. Goldstein”). And so it goes…

After many days of anxious waiting, I had finally received my dorm and roommate assignment from Washington University. Upon ripping open the letter, I read the following words:

“Your housing assignment is Room 1104 in Lien House. Your roommate’s name is: Laura Goldstein.”

My reaction was a mixture of disbelief and impatience. I immediately assumed that Residential Life had mistaken my first name for Laura, and thus roomed me with myself. As I tried to decide whether this would be such a bad thing after all, my eyes scanned down the page and I discovered my theory was wrong. This Laura Goldstein was from Virginia (not Chicago like myself), with a separate home address and phone number from my own.

Now I didn’t know what to think. Was this some kind of joke? My thoughts scattered as I tried to imagine my first meeting with this other Goldstein. Would we hate each other like the two long lost sisters from The Parent Trap did when they first met? Or would we bond over our common last name?

As the last days of our pre-college lives marched on, we exchanged emails and phone calls. We talked about who was bringing what, when we were arriving, even what type of music we liked. She seemed nice enough. But my worried pursued, as I wondered: what will happen when we actually get to school?

A month passed, and the day finally came for me to move to St. Louis. Strangely enough, we both moved our things in without meeting each other, since she went immediately to the Ozarks for the Pre-Orientation program Launch, while I stayed on campus for Student Life’s Freshman Press. This only left me more anxious. All I could do was study the flowered sheets on her bed, a picture of a little Australian Terrier on her wall, and the notebooks sitting on her desk, and try to piece together a picture of this stranger.

Finally, on the final day of Pre-Orientation, I came home to room 1104, put my keys in the door, and turned the lock, knowing in seconds I would meet my roommate for the next eight months. As I fumbled with my still new and tricky lock, my roommate opened the door from the inside. We saw each other, hugged, and immediately laughed over our nervousness of meeting one another.

After spending time together during Freshman Orientation, my worries slowly melted away, as I became more and more comfortable with Laura Goldstein, my roommate who was no longer a stranger. I gradually learned we had much more in common than our last names.

As we finish our final year at Washington University, I’m still glad that Residential Life perhaps thought it’d be funny to room together two people with the same last names. And ultimately, it’s the two Goldstein’s who got the last laugh: we’ve been roommates and best friends for four years.

Congratulations on your great achievement!

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Mark S. Wrighton
Bernell Dorrough

Graduation from Washington University is a great achievement. Congratulations to all who are completing their studies and receiving their degrees. Your hard work, dedication, and persistence have contributed to the successful completion of the requirements for graduation. However, there are many who have assisted you along the path to the Quadrangle for commencement. Your parents and other family members, friends, other students, and faculty and staff have been a part of the support extended to assist in your success. I am proud of all of you and thank all those who have made your time at WU meaningful and rewarding.

WU is a far better university, because we have such talented students. The contributions made by our students during their time here foretell a brighter future for the world. Many wonderful student-led or student-driven activities in the last several years have proven to be rewarding for the university and for those we serve. Our new graduates leave the university a better place and have acquired an education that will serve them all their days. Beyond the academic aspects of the experience, lifelong friendships have been developed and there has been social and emotional maturation. Thus, our new graduates are ready to face new challenges that lie ahead.

The world our new graduates enter is one that is certainly rich in challenges. The economy has been weakened, international tension is high, and we are facing a new health threat from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). But our graduates span a wide range of intellectual interests and will bring much to make our world a better place. From work to cure and treat disease, to contributing to the development of new businesses, to working to address political problems, to making the world better through creative expression, our graduates are destined to make important contributions to society. There is no doubt that we can all look forward to a brighter future as our graduates begin their careers.

The entire WU community is proud to have played a role in contributing to the educational experience of our students. We take pride in being a part of a great university, focused on the success of its students. As the future unfolds we will look to our graduates as a source of inspiration for the next generation of students. Our impact as a university grows with each successive group of graduates, and it will be rewarding to follow the contributions of those who received their education at WU. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success to all of our graduates of 2003!

What to pack for your next journey

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Joel Anderson
Bernell Dorrough

A few days before my college graduation, my wallet disappeared. It was remarkably disorienting. The last week before graduation is surreal anyway. And now I was navigating it without cash, my student I.D., or the familiar lump in my back pocket. But once I gave up looking for it, I started to see the loss as symbolic of the whole disorienting, painful, and yet liberating process of letting go of college.

One of the hardest things about graduation is knowing what to pack -what to take with you and what to leave behind.

Sometimes you don’t get to make the decision yourself. Your wallet disappears; your friends get jobs that take them to the opposite side of the country; your furniture doesn’t fit in the U-Haul. Most of the time, however, you have to make the decisions yourself. And it’s hard to know what to keep and what to throw away. As seniors’ final move-out day approaches, dumpsters turn into gold mines as panic sets in over the finite carrying capacity of even a behemoth SUV.

There is much you’ll want to hang onto. Memories, of course. Pictures. CDs you ripped in the heyday of Napster. The architectural model you stayed up 40 hours straight to finish. A novel that has haunted you since you read it sophomore year. But most of what you will be taking with you doesn’t fit in a box: an enlarged view of the complexity and diversity of the world we live in; a critical eye for the one-sidedness of a newspaper article or commencement address; and an appreciation for the importance of distinct research issues that once seemed to be a boring, confusing blur. There is more that you are taking with you than you may realize.

But there may also be plenty you’ll want to leave behind. Wherever you are headed – even if it’s your parents’ house – graduation gives you an opportunity to break some bad habits and shed parts of yourself that you’ve outgrown. There’s a visceral thrill to throwing stuff in the dumpster. Opening yourself up to change will land in unknown territory, of course, and that can be terrifying. But all you need to do – and this is the key – is give yourself permission to ask numbskull questions. Because when you ask people for help, you are indirectly making a compliment. And you often end up making friends in the process.

Sometimes, of course, you’ll throw the wrong stuff away. But don’t worry. It will probably track you down. You’ll end up living in the same town in Connecticut with someone you never thought you’d see again. Floundering in a new job, you’ll end up buying a copy of the Psych Statistics textbook that you sold at the Lock & Chain book sale. Even lost items have a way of turning up.

Three years after I graduated from college, I was visiting my sister in Brooklyn. I sat in my favorite, tattered easy chair, my grandfather’s, which I had given her when I left for Germany after graduation. Out of old habit, I stuck my hand under the cushion, to that spot where my roommates’ stuff always used to disappear. And there was my wallet. With some pictures, $43, and my college I.D.

Good luck packing. Most of what you’ll need, you’ll be able to come up with. Even if it takes a while to find it. Congratulations and best wishes!

Thank you seniors for your lasting contributions to WU

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Jill E. Carnaghi
Bernell Dorrough

One ship drives east,
and another west
With the self-same winds
that blow;
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
Which decides the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea
are the ways of fate;
As the voyage along
through life;
“Tis the will of the soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Each of you has clearly determined and charted your own course during your time here. And, each of you has also left a lasting mark on this place. As you leave your undergraduate days, I hope you realize how much you have contributed to the life of this campus. You gave of yourselves time and again to your peers as well as those beyond our campus boundaries. You unselfishly shared your time and expertise with those in need. You took the risk to discuss issues of diversity and differences in respectful and significant ways. And, you really listened to differences of opinions on topics ranging from religion to sexual orientation to war. It’s been a busy year with significant events, and it’s been a year that has gone by all too quickly. I haven’t found the time or taken the time to thank all who have contributed to making Wash U such a special and unique place and to thank all who have taught me so much about what is truly important in one’s life and the lives of others.
For me, some highlights include the following….and remember these are only some of the many highlights of this past year.

*Overwhelming success of CWD (Campus Week of Dialogue on Race) with many, many members of our community participating in some aspect of the week.

*The leadership and “followership” that so many of you provided to the various governing groups on campus, Student Union recognized groups, and Greek chapters.

*Thorough and timely student media coverage of news happenings, athletic events, cultural events, and just plain fun campus activities.

*The library wall becoming yet another vehicle of communication, advertising and voicing of one’s opinions.

*The countless hours of community service given freely to members of the St. Louis community and beyond.

*The incredible financial resources raised by many philanthropic activities and events: Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, Mr. Wash U, Thurtene Carnival, and numerous Greek events throughout the year.

*The introduction of new events and programs on this campus: Relay for Life, Mr. Wash U, school ring program, new Student Union constitution and subsequent governing bodies.

*Your planning and contributions made to celebrate Wash U’s Sesquicentennial. You will have to come back and see the fruits of your labor!

*Incredible and sold out performances of Diwali, Black Anthology, Chinese New Year Festival, Carnaval, as well as many a capella group performances.

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
–Dr. Seuss

Thank you and be safe in your next adventure. You will be missed.

You’ll be amazed by the future

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Jeff Pike
Bernell Dorrough

The visual arts are central to virtually every aspect of contemporary American life, from popular entertainment to consumer products to information systems. Yet for many art school graduates, the prospect of finding that first real job can seem daunting. Typically, there are not clear career paths that present themselves.

And yet, from the first day of classes, art students are called upon to prepare, present and defend original research, both in groups and individually. That demands a certain resiliency, a certain maturity and-as I recall from my own freshman-year critiques-some pretty thick skin. It also teaches you to think on your feet, to persuasively argue your ideas, and ultimately to make better, more skillful and more compelling products.

And so it should come as no surprise that, every year, School of Art alumni go into the world and begin careers that are meaningful, interesting, challenging and rewarding.

Sometimes the path from degree to profession is relatively straightforward. Jacqueline Gendel, BFA Painting ’96, is developing a strong reputation in the New York City gallery scene. Sandy Speicher, BFA Visual Communications ’96, is now with MetaDesign, a major San Francisco-based agency focusing on interactive development. Ben Lowey, BFA Photography ’01, has spent the last several months on assignment for Time Magazine, embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq.

Just as frequently, alumni find their niche in fields they might not have anticipated as freshmen. Michelle Komie, BFA Painting and BA English ’97, is an assistant editor at Yale University Press. Dan Swift, BFA Sculpture ’89, is vice president for investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York. Mary Traynor, MFA Sculpture ’89, is a lawyer and social activist in New York.

Still, all of these professionals continue to rely on the extraordinary skill sets first honed in the studio – inventing skills, building skills, researching and presenting skills. Traynor, for example, traces her ability to argue cases in court back to the intellectual rough-and-tumble of artistic critiques.

Peter Durand, BFA Illustration ’91 and principle of Alpha Chimp Studios in Pittsburgh, has used his visual skills to support workshops on complex adaptive systems with major clients ranging from Walmart and Coca Cola to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Art school, he says, shaped his ability to “look at chaos and recognize patterns” and prepared him to “work in teams, explore the creative process, explain my vision to others and internalize their critical evaluation.”

Alan Griswold, BFA Sculpture and BA English ’96, served as a production executive for actor Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, where he coordinated the DVD production and marketing of the film “Zoolander,” among other projects, until recently founding his own firm. Griswold concurs that, “I’m able to look at things in ways that others don’t think to because I’ve been trained to do just that.”

Success always takes hard work and discipline but artists and designers are, almost by definition, uniquely trained to bring their ideas to fruition and make their visions reality. They are at once independent, receptive and fearless – a combination equally valuable in the studio or the business environment. In a sense, every artist or designer already operates their own small company, developing intellectual properties, maintaining product lines, distinguishing himself or herself from the competition.

So, to newly minted BFA and MFA degree recipients, beginning the first chapters of your professional lives, my best advice is simply this: stay focused on what your long term goals, on that which most engages all of your skills and passions. I promise you’ll be amazed by what the future holds in store.

Looking forward to Your 25th reunion

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Edward E. Macias
Bernell Dorrough

Years from now – when you are jobs, miles, and many adventures away from today – in thinking back to your time at Washington University, what will you remember?

Figuring out where to go on your first day of classes? Learning to live with a roommate? Playing Frisbee in the Quad? Finding a new best friend? Having a wild time at WILD? Exploring an unfamiliar subject then making it your major? Getting to know classmates from nations all over the world? Going to a concert at the Pageant? Acting in a dramatic production? Mastering the art of Website construction? Discovering the best book you ever read? Attending an Assembly Series lecture? Working in a research lab? Writing an honors thesis? Rollerblading in Forest Park? Running for Student Union office? Writing for Student Life? Learning Persian? Learning Greek? Discu-ssing a novel with your favorite professor?

Your list will be particular to your own experience, and I hope it will include some general truths along with specific examples. I hope it will say that you learned how to think, to write, to solve problems, to work together with others from different backgrounds and perspectives and ways of doing things. I hope it will say that you gained knowledge and skills and also new ways of thinking about the world. And I hope it will say that your Arts & Sciences education has prepared the way for a life-long habit of learning, no matter what path you take after graduation.

Above all I hope your list will say that you have made some wonderful friendships here. At no other time in your life are you likely to have the same opportunity to work together with a small community of colleagues on subjects of mutual interest – the friendships that develop from this endeavor are at least as valuable and as permanent as the classroom experience itself.

When you look back from the vantage point, say, of your 25th Reunion, I hope all the memories on your list leave you with a great sense of accomplishment. Especially, I hope they will be as vivid and cherished in the remembering as they were in the making.

Wherever the future takes you, please keep in touch with us following graduation. Our Arts & Sciences alumni are very important to us, and we will follow your career with great interest. I send with you my very best wishes for a bright future, successful and interesting work, and most of all a lifetime of learning.

I’d like to be the person I thought I’d be…But I’m not

Friday, May 16th, 2003 | Allison Barrett
Bernell Dorrough

Saturday, April 26. 2:38 a.m.

Today’s been such a crazy day. My last class of my college career ended at 11, and I was happy, an unexpected but wonderful emotion. A few hours later at WILD, I felt out of place, out of touch, extremely old, and very sober. After reminiscing on the good things in college – connecting with a professor, meeting those who would become my lifelong friends – I remembered the bad too.

Now I’m thinking how much I’d like to be out of St. Louis and how appealing another city sounds, any city at all. I’m thinking how meeting new people seems strange-too little, too late-but being with the old people seems almost too nostalgic. I’m remembering how I compromised my morals in college then found them again later, how I thought I lost God but found Him again too. And how I’ve coasted by on some things then received more than I should have in return, and how I’ve poured my heart into other things then been rejected. And I’m remembering how I fell in love, and how I fell out of love, and how my friends are getting engaged, and how I’ve befriended drug dealers, devout Christians and anarchists. It seems so bittersweet to leave it all and enter into an entirely uncertain future – jobless, homeless and clueless.

It’s 3 a.m. now, and I want to go to bed and wake up when somebody’s figured out my plan for me, when I’ve been accepted to medical school and made peace with my enemies. I’d like to be the person I thought I’d be, in the place where I saw myself after college. But I’m not, so I’ll settle for a brief respite: for one day I’d like to wake up and not be shocked by the world. Unfortunately there is no bargaining involved: the world will always be a shock no matter what I offer God in return for a day free of mental anguish. Tomorrow, like always, nuclear war will peek around the corner, and there will be corrupt businessmen, alcoholics, pedophiles, abusive husbands and juvenile delinquents. Some enemies will never forgive and some friends will be lost without having the chance to say goodbye.

Clich‚s ahoy: I have too much hope to let that get me down. I know that I’ll fail sometimes, that my heart will be broken and my beliefs and myself attacked. And I’ll face the world anyway because if I don’t then I won’t have the opportunity to change it. Maybe it’s na‹ve to assume that my spirit will never be broken beyond the point of repair. Maybe it’s na‹ve to give my friends a thousand chances to redeem themselves when they do wrong, all the while thinking, “This time will be different.” Thorton Wilder once wrote, “Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.” I guess that makes me ridiculous.

Like all of us, I’ve experienced some bad things here – poor grades, lost friendships, failed plans. But I can’t forget the good either, like the laughter in Kathy Drury’s Exposition and Argumentation classes. Like watching the sunrise on the Brookings steps. Like painting the underpass, watching a friend star in a play, staying up until 5 a.m. freshman year just talking.

I overestimate the frustration I feel about leaving WU and, truthfully, being here has been worth any disappointment I felt. I’ve had my share of achievements for good grades and good writing, and I’ve had more than enough fun too. I’ve been taught how to survive without a master plan for my life, though that, like other lessons, was one I never asked to learn. While I was optimistic before coming to college, hope is now the chocolate of my life: I just can’t live without it. It’s no wonder that now I can look at my father’s calmness, despite losing his job not two months ago, and recognize that he and I share a philosophy: “Things will always get better.”

You could say, then, that my frustration is misplaced. I’m not so upset about being at a place in life where I didn’t expect to be. I’m really just sad to leave behind this wannabe-Gothic, construction-laden paradise. My fate could be worse. At least I’m not pushing a rock up a hill forever. But even then, as Albert Camus stated, “The rock is still rolling.”