Apr 252011
Authors: Jim Sojourner

The end, for me, is nigh. Graduation looms.

It’s pretty standard for columnists approaching the entropic singularity that is the conclusion of all things college to write some kind of wordy, memoirish drivel in their column space mourning the
passing of their college days.

I’ve always thought these columns represent a strange, sad attempt to forever memorialize a defining experience that the writer suddenly realized shot by in the blink of an eye. Almost out of nowhere it hits them in the face: those mythical four (or six) years they called college have abruptly slipped out of grasp; the time for forming college memories is done and gone. Forever.

And now I am that “they,” bleeding from my metaphorical mouth after reality hit me in the face. So this column is my own strange, sad attempt to put into print all those dear college stories, those unforgettable college friends and those priceless college memories that have no where else left to go but onto a page.

But before I do, DO NOT STOP READING because you need to read this shameless and borderline unethical but very necessary self-promotion:
I’m looking for a responsible student to take my room in the Prospect Plaza Apartments right next to campus (location, location, location!) for summer. Rent is only $355 a month (sweet!), all utilities included (even better!), and you’d get to live with former Top 5 column writer and great-roommate Johnny Hart (icing on the cake), so e-mail me at jimsojourner@gmail.com ASAP.

OK, back to lamenting those things, including that apartment and one of my best friends, I’ll soon leave behind.

As my colleagues can hopefully attest, I’ve grown up a lot since I set foot in this dungeon-like office 3 years ago, a shaking freshman without a clue, terrified of the man sporting a blonde bun who claimed to be my boss and glancing warily at a horde of unhappy-looking journalists.

Oh how things have changed. I’m still clueless, the office is still dreary and the journos are still miserable, but I’m much less afraid of the bun-man (he shaved his head), I don’t yell quite as much for no good reason and I’ve finally learned to appreciate what I have … and what I’m about to lose.

Though maybe lose is too strong of a word; what I’ve had will always be in my head and heart.

Because how could I ever forget learning how whiskey tastes coming back up before painting my friend’s fence orange with half-digested Jack Daniels and D.P. Dough? Or waking up naked and confused, covered in mud and blood? Salsa dancing in a living room before getting my jaw dislocated and contracting face cancer? Watching “Duff Man’s” Breathalyzer get zapped in the microwave? Sneaking through windows? Chatting with Tattoo Charles about his nunchucks over a game of pool? Refusing to clean out the downstairs bathroom apocalypse? Rising like the phoenix, like I always hope to do?

I’ve got hundreds more, all of them memorable, some of them best left out of print. None of them mean anything to most of you, but I’m sure you’ve all got your own stories like mine. And I’m sure none of them would mean anything without the people you shared them with. I know mine wouldn’t.

Because if I’ve learned anything in college, it’s that the people you get to share your life with matter more than anything else.

Some of them are only in it for a while, some of them for years, and some of them, I hope, for the rest of it. But all of them matter, and I don’t ever want to forget that or have to learn it again. It’s too valuable of a lesson that took me far too long to learn.

But although it’s easy to get depressed that this chapter of my life is closing on all sorts of people worth remembering, it’s heartening to remember that the people who do matter the most aren’t going anywhere.

People like my mom and dad and sister and grandparents and aunt and uncles and cousins, who, no matter where I go or what I do, will always be behind me sending me too many care packages despite my half-hearted protests. There isn’t a better family out there, and I could never repay them.

Or people like my countless friends whom I know will stick with me through thick and thin and whom I won’t be able to help but keep in touch with, try as I might. I’d love to go name each of them, but I’ll leave it at this:

For those of you –– and you better know who you are –– whom I’ve had the pleasure of spending at least this small snapshot of my own life with, I won’t forget you. Thanks for everything.

Jim Sojourner is a senior journalism major. Take over his lease before his last column appears next Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback or lease inquiries can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:06 pm

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