View From South Campus: The Last Word

my section editor, Anna Petkovich SC ’14—round of applause for this gal, folks,
without whose kindly intervention I would still be wandering the college-named
streets of Claremont, half-heartedly waving a cardboard sign bearing the words
PUBLIC EXPOSURE” at passing cars—e-mailed me regarding my thoughts on the last
column of the year, I was (in a rare turn of events) at a loss for words. Any
other week, I can just rattle off a laundry list (pun intended, because someone
recently pointed out to me that a lot of my columns have dealt with laundry
problems) of the minor crises that have sprung up in my life since the last
entry, but this week is special. We
live in a culture of spectacular last stands and grand farewells and going out
with a bang a la “Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid,” and for this reason I have to leave
you all with something meaningful.

But what? How am I supposed to round
out my tenure here as the freshman columnist, the latest in a long line of
honorable holders of this old and storied TSL
position (just kidding, I actually invented it)? My close personal friend
and confidante Jordan Greene PO ’15 (look, an actual mention of an actual
student) suggested that I
detail the havoc I plan to wreak on next year’s first-years, and while this would
certainly make for a chuckle here and there, I argued that publicly divulging
my secret torture plans ultimately strips the fun from what is really supposed to be a surprise. Jordan’s next
suggestion was actually a meta-suggestion of sorts, because what she suggested was
that I suggest tips for the Class of
2016 (so I can make them feel like I’m some kind of personal friend of theirs
and the shock will be all the more potent when they get here and I actually
start torturing them, naturally).

“For example,” she said, “Someone should tell
them that if they like dressing up, and they happen to own a lot of dresses,
they should not bring most of them, because, you know, you will NEVER have an occasion
to wear any of them.” Then she said, “I’m so excited. I love being quoted.”

Asking around (remarkably, despite
the emotional punch I knew it would pack with my readership, I couldn’t manage
to write 900 words about best formalwear practices), one common thread among
the many recommendations I received had to do with the overall arc of my time
as a freshman: the high points and low points of my experience and how I think
I’ve changed over the months. In order to educate myself about my own
experience so that I might better achieve this task, I went back and looked at
the digital archive of my work for TSL,
because I pour my heart and soul into my work here. Mostly, I noticed that I do have a strange obsession with laundry
and laundry disasters, that I get lost a ridiculous amount of the time for
having spent the past seven months here and that I really truly am not the sex
columnist. In recent weeks, I’ve expressed a lot of insecurity about losing my
position here at TSL. Like a child
star whose run as reigning media cherub comes to a screeching halt at the advent
of a particularly unfortunate and odoriferous puberty, I have simply outgrown
my station. My saving loophole grace may
be that the Powers That Be decided a long time ago to title my humble weekly
offering “The View From South Campus,” and I am living on South Campus next year. Granted, from what I understand,
my view next year will consist mostly
of the Oldenborg construction site, but maybe, just maybe, they’ll keep me around. Oh, who am I kidding? Maybe
they’ll need somebody to sweep the floors in Walker Fishbowl.

Well, now I am far too distracted by
thoughts of my own bleak future to perform a substantial analysis of my past
development, so that’s no good. I
guess, then, that the only way to end this semester is the way I started it:
with an anecdote about my lovely, lovely hall mates.

Those of you with an eye for the
long-term may remember a certain third-degree back sunburn I contracted on my
Orientation Adventure. Although it was not cute, what with its purplish-green
hue and a propensity for flaking off in strips at the most inconvenient of
moments, the kids in my sponsor group accepted it as one of their own, giving
it the name of Geoff and bestowing upon it excruciatingly painful love pats
that I knew were well intentioned. It was truly a bonding experience.

I didn’t mention this earlier,
because I didn’t want people to run away from me, but
about five weeks ago I was diagnosed with the dreaded mononucleosis. It wasn’t
one of those horror story cases, but it was no walk in the
park, either. I was cranky and sweaty and tired as all get-out, and my spleen
was the size of a football. This is around the time I realized that they call
it “mono” because you end up friendless and alone.

But then one day there was a knock
at my door, and—lo and behold—standing on my threshold were a few of my
spiblings, bearing gifts of frankincense and myrrh and Pop-Tarts, so many Pop-Tarts, and Nilla Wafers and
Circus Animals—a big bag of Coop Store goodies to ease my pain. While my
first instinct was to give them a moderately generous tip and send them on
their merry way, I quickly recognized that this is only because I am a horrible
person, and I thought about it a little more and realized that the strange
burning sensation I felt in the pit of my stomach was not spleen juice fighting
to escape, but love. That’s right,
you know the one. It’s the kind of love you only get from living and showering
and cramming alongside of people who are going through the same serious
freshman year adjustment stuff that you are. It comes from watching movies with
them and wanting to kill them and helping them vomit. It comes from attending
their a cappella concerts and listening to them whine about problem sets you’ll
never understand and letting them cry all over your shirt and threatening to
move out or transfer to beauty school and collapsing on their beds at the
end of a long day. It’s about looking back and realizing that you guys didn’t
even know each other when your back
looked like something out of a snuff film and they sort of giggled and bore it
because they wanted to be friends just as desperately as you did, and that
you’re so much more than friends now, that—for all the dumb cliché value—you’re kind of family.

I know this hasn’t been everyone’s
experience this year, but the best part of this being the final issue of TSL is that nobody can issue a rebuttal,
and if there’s one thing I love more than my hall mates, it’s having the last
word. At any rate, I guess what I’m trying to say is that freshman year has
been really, really hard at times, but I’ve learned a lot—in class and out—and I wouldn’t trade any of the crazy people I learned with and from for
anything. At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to people. And this
is coming from a legally registered misanthrope, so you know it must be true.

This article is way too long, but I’m having a hard time letting go. When I send
this in, the reality of the situation will hit me and I’ll probably start
crying or something really gross. But nothing gold can stay, and I’ve got miles
to go before I get to Spanish class, so I’ll take my leave quickly and quietly.
Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next year.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply