One of my good friends from this past semester, Billy Perkins, former news editor of the Collegian from last semester, had a favorite book: “The Great Gatsby.” A literary classic, “T.G.G.” is an exceptional tale that can span the test of time.
Most of us were more or less ordered to read the novel during high school. I, being the attitude-filled rebel without a cause – excuse the cliché – that I was, decided not to read it. After all, I was a liberal in Utah at the time. Why would I read the book if a Utah teacher asked me to?
That was my thinking then. But, like Gatsby ends, “we beat on, boats against the current.”
Today, I spent a few hours with four of my closest friends. One of them, Ian, with whom I’ve been friends since seventh grade, is leaving for Germany. He’ll be gone until July 31 – the same day his car’s inspection sticker expires, funnily enough.
Anyway, Ian’s leaving is the latest and last case of my great friends departing abroad. Friends I met in my freshman year of college, my roommate from sophomore year and current “broski,” as well as several others, all of whom have left to study abroad for the semester. Some have already gone to places like Ireland and are due back in the fall.
And with all of my great friends – save for a few – having gone to different places all across the globe, I’m left pondering about what’s to come next. This marks another time when I’ve had to start over, fresh, from the bottom and work my way back to the top.
But this tells me, and all of us, something about life. Our friends may leave, whether temporarily or not, and we stay behind. And when this happens, we can only do one thing.
We beat on.
This coming semester is going to be new for me; a fresh start and complete overhaul of the life I’ve been living. It’s a new world to conquer. In some ways, like my great friends, I am also traveling abroad. I am also entering a new country.
Music will sound different, tastes will rattle the taste buds in new ways and it will be a completely different experience for me this semester.
I often look at the world as a television show. Some look at it as a movie, but I’ve always considered the television show to be the better analogy. Each day is an episode. Some are better than others, some are for character development and some are for fleshing out the story.
And this coming semester, as I move back to the University of Massachusetts, in what is surely a mid-season premiere, things will change significantly. It’s a sure game-changer, knowing that most of those who made the past three years so fantastic will be away.
But we beat on, we move on and we survive this. We always do, don’t we? We always face the darkness and emerge with the brightest of lights. Before we know it, the trouble and the storm is far behind us.
If you’re facing similar circumstances or you’re looking for a clean slate or change, just remember that we beat on, like boats against the current. We sway back and forth and continue forward no matter what troubles may face us.
You may despise your job, you may hate the people you work with, you may have lost someone’s respect, you may have lost your girlfriend, you may have lost your friends or you may have done something inexplicable. But you’ve got to move forward and know that no matter what characters leave or how the settings change, the television show — unless it’s cancelled — continues onward.
So with that, I say let’s have this mid-season premiere. Let’s face the challenges that await us. And, most certainly, let us all beat on, boats against the current.
Herb Scribner is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.