Putting to words the point of the last four years

On May 19th, many of us triumphantly will walk down the center of the Lawn to receive our diplomas after what has seemed like at least 17 years at this University.

However, we will not truly have completed all the tests meant to see if we are worthy of graduation from this prestigious college, and by "prestigious" I of course mean "precipitous," and by "precipitous" I clearly don't know what I mean (I didn't learn that much while I've been here).

The final test is to see if we are able to sit through two hours of boring speeches at the graduation ceremony. But we won't be bored, because during those speeches, we each will ponder our future and the excitement and adventures it holds. Some people only will be thinking about their future in terms of which bars they want to hit that night. The more reflective students, however, will be thinking much further ahead - they will wonder which bars they want to hit in the year 2010.

As we sit in the hot sun, soaking our robes with the sweat of achievement and the drool of success, we will ignore Gov. Warner telling us how our futures depend solely on his new tax plan. Instead, we will think about our lives. We will realize that our lives are changing and nothing ever will be the same. For example, we no longer will have the compassionate, meaningful friendship of that nameless drunk guy who lives downstairs. Even those of you going to medical school will find that the drunk guys downstairs are much smarter and more arrogant than you're used to.

The truly scary aspect of graduation is the realization that time simply has gone by too quickly. It seems like just last week we were sitting in our rooms pumping M.C. Hammer and talking fondly of "ALF." Before we knew it, M.C. Hammer turned his name into a punch line, and ALF's career went down the toilet before he made a shocking comeback this year with long distance commercials. I bet ALF's agent was shocked to get that call.

"You want who to do what?? ... Well, he hasn't worked in 15 years! ... As far as I know he's living in a mobile home in Montana still trying to make it as a screenwriter."

Anyway, my point is, our graduation is just one more sign that our lives are flying by us like the Delorean in "Back to The Future." Speaking of "Back to The Future," where the heck are the floating skateboards? Christopher Lloyd promised us floating skateboards!

Now let's check out a new film called "Back to The Point" - it's time to take control of our lives. It's time to step out into the real world and accept our destinies! Or maybe it's time to randomly travel through Europe on a budget of 50 cents per day with only a backpack and a crack-head friend.

Yeah, either that or accept our destinies. One of those.

Some of us have been on the job search for months. We've been practicing for this hardcore search all our lives by doing things like solving "Where's Waldo" books and trying to locate where we stashed our "Playboy" magazines. After those searches, you would think the job search would be a piece of cake. But it turns out all my English major qualified me to do is write "Where's Waldo" books or write the captions for "Playboy" photographs.

Others have lined up jobs in corporate America that will consist of non-stop excitement pulsing through our loins ... at least that's what the pamphlet says. In order to be chosen for these distinguished positions, we had to prove that we were experienced go-getters, outside-the-box problem-solvers and most of all, dating the boss' niece.

We can't wait to walk boldly into that office on the first day of work and confidently announce to our boss, "Sir, I broke up with your niece. Please don't fire me. I have nowhere else to go."

These types of jobs will be much different than our old college days, because our best friend will change from Jack Daniels to Mr. Coffee. And we'll soon find out that Mr. Daniels is much more laid back than Mr. Coffee.

I know many of the five people reading this may still be lower classmen. And I know you're thinking that you'll never get to this point.

Well, you won't have to because this point comes to you like a cheap call girl on a slow night. Believe me, most of you will be graduating before you know it.

So for once in your life take some advice from someone who's wholly unqualified to give it - cherish everything about your University days. Cherish the dining hall coleslaw that's made out of lettuce that was too brown to leave in the salad bar. Cherish the unintelligible graffiti written in carols in Clemons. Cherish the giant construction signs that say "Beers & Skanska," which you plan on slightly altering to read "Beers & Skanks." Cherish the boring philosophy classes that will teach you how to do such things as write entire humor columns in the future tense.

And most of all, cherish your ... well, I can't think of anything else groundbreaking, but my point is there's lots of stuff to cherish.

So undergrads, open your eyes and appreciate the moments I failed to appreciate.

To my fellow graduates, let's go out there and make this University proud! We are the future of this country and this world.

If there's one thing I know, it's that we can achieve anything we put our minds to.

Good luck, and maybe I'll run into you while I'm wandering through Europe selling hemp necklaces and surviving on rice and peanut butter with my crack-head friend. See ya then.


Published May 17, 2002 in Life




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