Sep 142008
Authors: J. David McSwane

As an upperclassman, I’ve recently been anticipating what lies beyond the realm of college, which for me has been a series of outlandish events designed to distract from society’s demands that I find a steady job and start a family.

While the idea of dedicating myself to a career, especially in journalism or technical journalism (whatever the hell that is), often seems overwhelming, I find my morphing personal relationships to be much more startling.

For example, my friends have begun to criticize me for what they call a “fear of commitment,” which I was surprised to hear, seeing as they have a fear of sobriety and coursework, which is the only smart commitment that currently comes to mind.

It wasn’t until I heard that an acquaintance of mine, hardly older than I, had proposed to his girlfriend that I began to wonder if this was a just criticism. Truth is: I am quite possibly afraid of commitment, though I can’t commit to the affliction at this time.

Upon this discovery, I felt a searing pang in the empty vacuum that was once my soul — before I began working at the Collegian. But then I realized, what kind of a 20-something, college-educated person doesn’t have a healthy fear of the m-word (and I don’t mean masturbation, so engineering majors please don’t feel disenfranchised) and the idea of a little one taking priority over this weekend’s keg race?

That’s heavy stuff, so in an effort to “mature” and ready myself for the socially contrived and unnatural life of committed relationships and other long term endeavors, I wrote down a few ideas that might help take away the pain.

Let’s start at the beginning. You’re afraid of “putting a label on things,” sending out the Facebook news feed and having to explain to your friends or that person you might have been leading on that you’re now branded with the initials of another. Think about the pluses: You’ll most often have a reliable DD; you now have an excuse to go to Red Lobster (the real reason men date); you’ll have broadcasted to hordes of the opposite sex that there is something appealing about you in the case that the label turns sour; and to put the cheese in, you now have the comfort of knowing at least one person is obligated to put up with your immaturity.

Oh, and in the end you can probably get away with at least two of his or her movies and they’re never seeing that toothbrush again. All good reasons to be in a committed relationship, but when it comes to crisis management, you’re on your own.

Pretend for a minute that your college romance turns serious enough to tell the world in a wedding — dwarfed only in expense by the less ceremonious divorce you’ll enjoy in about five years.

Marriage has it’s perks: free George Forman grills; silverware; open bar; tax breaks (unless you’re gay — sorry); acceptance from the conservative right (unless you’re gay — sorry); for men, less expensive bar tabs; for women, someone to ask really loaded questions. And the list goes on.

Now, no marriage is complete without the selfish act of contributing to the planet’s growing population problem. Plus, that means sex (sorry engineering majors, might as well stop reading now).

There are plenty of reasons to have a child: awesome hair styling options; for men, a new living room farting buddy; for women, someone else to ask really loaded questions of; a chance to deliberately teach your child the incorrect definition of the word “malapropism;” and of course, the family’s centuries-old tradition of systematic emotional abuse to “build character.”

Sounds like a blast. In the end, I suppose we all find our own ways of finding happiness, and fear might just be the necessary ingredient to ensure that we recognize a good thing when we see it. Until then, I’ll be at the keg race and writing frivolous columns to shut up our tyrannical editor in chief.

J. David McSwane is a senior technical journalism major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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