The most valuable thing about endings is that they compel us to consider their beginnings. The notion of writing this last article and Editor’s Column for
The Maroon-News – and the knowledge that today will be the final Tuesday that I spend in that office – triggers all kinds of memories: getting to know the Maroon-News family before I had even met my roommates during freshman Pre-Orientation; a spring field trip to The New York Times building in Manhattan that transformed my career aspirations; my own progression from an introspective and quiet first-year sports photographer to the Editor-in-Chief of this paper.
While the first three years at Colgate are imperative to your growth and the position in which you ultimately find yourself when you begin counting down the months until graduation – I still cannot believe the extent to which I, as well as many of my friends and peers, have evolved over this past year. I remember sitting down last April to edit all of the senior staff reflections. At the time, my own commencement seemed like such an abstract and distant prospect. Now, May 17 looms on my calendar, with only a few finals and senior week (and packing up four years’ worth of stuff!) separating us.
Those of you reading this who know me personally will understand that I am pretty much unrecognizable compared to this time last year. Each student here has his or her own individual journey, with its own unique starting and end point. The transformation between the two places may not always be glaringly obvious – but it is nonetheless true for us all to some degree. We have each set our own personal goals and then grown and adapted accordingly – physically, mentally and emotionally. At the end of the year, you look back and cannot believe that you wrote that thesis, ran this club or organized that event. I sincerely hope that every Colgate student gets to experience that overwhelming feeling of “I-have-no-idea-how-to-do-this-but-no-one-has-called-me-out-yet-so-I-must-be-doing-something-right.”
Forgive me for the cliché that has been repeated ad nauseum in our “In The Light,” columns, but your time at this school is about so much more than the intellectual development you undergo on campus. It’s more than the friends you meet and the relationships you forge, although that IS such a significant aspect.
To me, it is this – your time at Colgate is about the person you become while you are here. It’s about all the little ways in which you handled all those disputes about clean living situations, struggled bleary-eyed through each last-minute paper and ensuing all-nighter, and helped out every drunk or sad (or sometimes both) friend that need to be taken care of. The sum total of your actions and experiences, your compromises and resolutions have coalesced to make you so much stronger or more mature and caring than the first-year who entered these grounds so many years ago.
With the events of the past year still on everyone’s mind, I feel the need to stress that you do not HAVE to fit the typical-Colgate mold to fit in or find your happiness here. Peace of mind doesn’t come from getting into a fraternity, or a successful night at the Jug, or even from a decent grade in that class you thought you were definitely going to fail. Not to sound too much like a hippie (Yes, I am from California), but peace comes from within, from being happy with yourself and where you are in life.
I would like to conclude my final piece for The Maroon-News – and take my leave of this venerable institution and the great college that has been its home for over 147 years – with one of my favorite quotes. It has always been special to me but has especially taken on a greater depth over these past eighteen months. The words are particularly apt to our time spent here in Hamilton. However, I hope they can be of significance to you for many years to come.
“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald