Today marks sixteen days until I graduate from Washington & Jefferson College. For the past month or so I have been holding an internal debate over whether I would mark the occasion for this, my last column in the pages of the Red&Black.
The thing is while I never planned on actually trying to write professionally, the last two years have given me a pulpit to educate, observe, rant, and proselytize in a semi-professional setting. I have enjoyed it. Once I settle in big Washington, a city I have reviled and ridiculed for the majority of my fifty columns, no doubt I will seek out a part-time gig opining in a rag that will have me.
I can thank the Red&Black for providing an introductory outlet that has sparked a passion for expressing my curmudgeonly behavior.
I have been under no illusions of grandeur during this stint; I know I have a small dedicated group of readers but otherwise my words have gone largely ignored. How I feel about that is a subject for another day when I have a few beers in me and there are no children within earshot.
My biggest regret however has been my inability to inspire a single piece of hate mail or at the very least a strongly worded disagreement. Granted, I devoted my efforts extensively to economics and we all know that stuff is boring! But I enjoy intellectually sparring with those who think I am an idiot; it is good for the soul. I just wish those on campus who wanted to punch me in the head spoke up and said so.
Liberal education when done right has merit. I have taken advantage of opportunities allowing me to draw, paint, and sculpt in Olin, see plays, take opera field trips, write about Shakespeare and the puritans in 1700’s Massachusetts, give presentations on SEC annual reports and Snuggies, and have a chemistry lab class about food and cooking. I doubt I could have touched as many bases elsewhere.
The above is not without a couple caveats however, as should be expected coming from such a paragon of honesty as myself.
Unfortunately W&J is very paternalistic and refuses to let anyone think or act independently, which is the complete antithesis of a liberal education. They hold our hands about everything and in terms of life and experience I almost feel like I have taken a step back since high school graduation. I had an incredible amount of independence and responsibility at the age of eighteen yet I do not feel like I have grown from there. At best I have had my progress on pause. This place is very stagnant and that is the biggest flaw in my opinion.
Who knows? I may feel differently if I had chosen a less grounded major. Since the accounting program develops a fairly tangible skill set, I definitely should have chosen a far cheaper school and saved myself upwards of $70k in debt. Realistically I could have learned most of the material in high school and started contributing productively to society from the jump. The more esoteric principles and standards could be learned on the job as my reliability was demonstrated to an employer.
That said I completely fault myself for the dissatisfaction with my choice of college. I simply did not take the process seriously enough in high school and I cannot in good conscience be outwardly upset. Live and learn is the philosophy.
So seniors, good luck with graduate, law, and medical school if that is the path. I tip my cap for willingly enduring more school and hopefully there are no diversions along the way. Those entering the workforce: stack that paper and hustle hard, make me proud. Anyone who may be entering military duty: Godspeed, stay safe, and many thanks for the service. Lastly, good luck to anyone still putting plans into place; I have my fingers crossed things settle soon and some peace of mind is attained.
Like Kanye put it on Graduation, no goodbyes, just goodnight.