In essence college kidnapped us.
Once freshman year started we were taken away, kicking and
screaming from our high school lives and chained to another round
of tests, portfolios, essays, projects and reports at the
collegiate level. We were tied to things like composition and
(everyone’s favorite) statistics, herded into our majors, shown we
could eat only what was in front of us or our grades would suffer
and isolated from news of the outside world.
Sure, we had access to the Internet. Granted, we might have
bartered away our studying or working or partying time for a little
dose of reality. But really, how many of us took it? Our time was
another thing we traded in when we came wide-eyed and innocent to
the CSU campus.
As seniors, we now emerge into that foggy reality everyone likes
to call “the real world.” We come out of our respective colleges
like Brendan Fraser’s character from the movie, “Blast From the
Past:” clueless but charming.
As we stumble out into this world, what kind of world are we
facing? What has happened in the last four years? (Note: “Four” is,
of course, a relative term.)
Let’s start by going with the crowd. I deemed the Internet a
good source of information. According to searchenginewatch.com,
Yahoo’s top ten search terms for 2003 are as follows: 1)KaZaA, 2)
Harry Potter, 3) American Idol, 4) Britney Spears, 5) 50 Cent, 6)
Eminem, 7) WWE, 8) Paris Hilton, 9) NASCAR and 10) Christina
For all you Googlers out there, the top five read like this: 1)
Britney Spears, 2) Harry Potter, 3) Matrix, 4) Shakira and 5) David
If you want to know about important cultural icons, these would
be good places to start. David Beckham … WWE … well, I’ll be
looking those up after finals week is over.
What about more serious, thought-provoking news? CNN.com’s top
stories of 2003 included the war in Iraq, gay civil rights issues,
SARS, loss of the space shuttle Columbia, controversy over the Ten
Commandments monument, California wildfires, the standoff with
North Korea and the deaths of Bob Hope and Mr. Rogers.
The New York Times Web site, nytimes.com, compiles a similar
list. This year’s top issues are the growing business of gastric
bypass surgery, concerns about harmful side effects of
antidepressants, housing subsidies for the poor being threatened by
cuts, the displacement of a million people in western Sudan, and
the creation of an antimissile system.
Some of these we’ll know from our pre-college days: gay civil
rights issues, controversies regarding separation of the church and
state and Mr. Rogers. In fact, Mr. Rogers and I go way back to
Lest I get on a soapbox, let me just pose two questions. It’ll
take two minutes of silence while passing through college doors out
into “the real world.” What do you want to do with your freedom?
What do you want to do with your knowledge?
Let me be the first to say that I don’t have a clue. Yet.
I’m still worried about getting through graduation and trying to
make up for four years of all-nighters and brain fry.
But seniors, now’s our time to shine. We’re graduating with the
credentials that now allow us to make decisions that affect more
than just our inner circle. We enter the work world that, because
of our degree, bestows on us varying degrees of power and
As we stumble out of our bunker, we take back our time and our
lives. What are we going to do with them? You can be sure I’ll
still be asking myself the same question. And paying off my