Apr 162003
 
Authors: Andrew Whelan

College is like a Joni Mitchell song. “On and on it seems to go, but you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

It took me four years to realize how much I like being at CSU.

Ironically, in a month, I’ll be at a ceremony, wearing a long dress and picking up my receipt. The ceremony is called “graduation.” And that receipt is called a “diploma.”

Isn’t a diploma really a receipt? You pay mad ends to get a little piece of paper, but what does that paper mean? It doesn’t say what you’ve learned; it says that you paid your bill.

If you start to realize that all you get on graduation is a receipt, you may want to make your time here worthwhile. If I could go back, I’d do everything I ever wanted to do but didn’t.

I’d party all night and then stumble into my class and give a presentation with the odor of Jagermeister radiating from my lips. I’d streak across the plaza. I’d wake up in a jail cell with no clue of how I got there. I’d watch The Real World without feeling like a teeny-bopper.

Do you want to tell your kids lame stories? “You should have seen your dad ace this biology midterm. I used to study like a madman.”

Some people have senioritis; they can’t wait to get out of here-not me.

This is the only time in your life that you can do something stupid and say, “Well, I was in college.” You can’t justify threesomes and gravity bong rips when you’re in the real world.

There’s a scene in Billy Madison where Adam Sandler tells a fourth grader to stay in elementary school as long as he can. Adam is trying to save him from the actual work students do in high school. Heed this advice.

You’re on the doorstep of reality. You’re a couple years away from a job and bills and responsibilities and headaches and kids and death.

Don’t stress out too much now. Eventually, you’ll get that receipt. If it takes you six years then just think of all the extra weekends you got.

Here I sit, realizing how special it is to be at CSU. Why? Because I’m close enough to graduation that I can feel this lifestyle slipping away. No more Ramen diet. No more sleeping in. No more 48-hour binges that leave no distinct recollections-oh, I’ll miss the times that I don’t remember.

Pretty soon your idea of “fun” will be trips to R.E.I., on-line shopping at Ikea, and poker night-once a month, an opportunity to see a couple friends and drink a couple beers. Getting new linoleum is not “excitement.”

I’m already becoming a yuppie, and it’s a not a transformation that you can reverse. Once you buy a fondue pot, you just don’t go back. Once you trade in your Maxim subscription for GQ, the fun and games are over.

When you think about it, a lot of us have it pretty good. And that’s how college is designed to be. You’re supposed to experiment and explore. You’re supposed to have regrets.

College is all about learning, and mistakes help you learn. But the learning you do in classes culminates with a receipt-that is all you get. That means that you better learn about life, too.

Evaluate what you want to learn. I don’t advocate promiscuity, psychedelic drugs or criminal mischief. But don’t think that a little “being bad” won’t pay off. You’ll learn a lot.

Billy Joel said he’d “rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.” And most of you would consider him a geeky white guy.

Would you rather have a receipt or a full-ride scholarship to hell? (I bet a lot of people in hell had a good time getting there.)

Good luck in making your decision. As for me, I have four weeks left-let the debauchery begin.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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