An open diary entry: A college student’s search for purpose


Maybe this column is the most beautifully poignant and hilarious thing you've ever read all at the same time.

Callie Collins | Cavalier Daily

Dear Diary, 

I wasn’t looking for a fight. But, nonetheless, a fight I found. Basking in the light of the surrounding windows of the Old Dorms quad last night, I took up arms in a singular battle of this raging, isolating war one might call existential melancholy. In a swift moment, I had to make the choice whether to laugh or cry about the electron cloud of guys in Hawaiian shirts drunkenly strolling past me. And as I cried, I thought, “What is my purpose here on this spinning sphere of ugly meatheads? And if there is one, will I ever find it?” 

I’m sorry if I sound dramatic, future me. I willfully realize that there is purpose in my life because I experience sensations of belonging in solitary moments of time that give it meaning. It would be a lie to say I haven’t felt at home in those instances walking down Rugby, encountering men wearing chubbies who yell, “Thomas Jefferson is daddy!” or in listening to relationship drama that occurs outside my window, beautifully audible, at 2 in the morning. And I’ve found meaning in writing wonderfully insightful things like this that go over your incompetent heads, because being published quenches my inner desire for validation and attention. 

Lying under a canopy of light pollution sprinkled delicately by stars, I thought, “Perhaps the purpose I’ve been so vehemently searching for is simply my primal desire to wear my hair out to the ground in cascading, oily ringlets and bathe in water filled with brain eating amoebas.”

Maybe, I considered, I should just abandon all sense of modernist humanity and post up near the Dell. Without even an eno to keep me warm, the cries of the night phantoms — which I believe are called foxes — would sing me to sleep as I reread Walden for the 300th time.

Of course, I had to think realistically. How would I, as a drifter, be able to take long gazes at myself through the reflection of a department store window? Where would I acquire the cell phone reception to initiate Twitter arguments with people who don't show unwavering support of my elaborate Reddit conspiracy theories? In summation, how could one, living as the true sylvan, ever have time for fun? I like needlessly being in my feelings, but not so much to the point of never finding humor in the uncomfortable, unsettling or even the sad.

Because it is kind of funny, isn’t it? How we all get dressed up for gatherings of other sweaty animals thirsty for pheromones and how, collectively, we have assigned the consequences of this instinctual phenomenon with the term “love?” Of course one would think that, in the modern intellectual pursuit of scientific thinking modeled by Enlightenment thinkers like our own Thomas Jefferson, we would advertently realize the biological incentives of our actions. If we acknowledged this, we could easily explain why someone would swipe right on a Tinder profile of a built man, pridefully grinning at his accomplishment of dragging two bass to their violent deaths for a picture. 

I think this sort of pragmatic approach to human nature is important to finding reconciliation between the sad and the funny. For instance, it’s sad that I think this could constitute as funny, but I guess it just depends on how you look at it — maybe it's the most beautifully poignant and hilarious thing you've ever read all at the same time. Even now as tears stream down my face, I can't pinpoint if I'm crying because I’m so hysterical or because my life is so pitiful.

Anyway, the weather’s been pretty weird lately. You know what they say, chili today, hot tamale! Ha! Until next time, diary. 



Erin Clancy is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at

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