Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey swept by Northeastern after 4-2 loss -

February 13, 2016

Upset in Amherst: UMass women’s basketball tops heavily favored St. Bonaventure Saturday at Mullins Center -

February 13, 2016

Local man arrested in drug investigation with 40 bags of heroin in his possession -

February 13, 2016

Cornel West speaks about importance of community at Smith College -

February 13, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse opens season with 16-5 win over Holy Cross -

February 13, 2016

Just another night at the Mullins Center for UMass hockey -

February 13, 2016

Three-goal second period sinks UMass hockey in defeat against Northeastern -

February 13, 2016

SLIDESHOW: Tyrone Parham Sworn in as Police Chief -

February 12, 2016

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Army 9-5 in season opener -

February 12, 2016

UMass Police Chief Tyrone Parham ‘optimistic’ as University prepares for Blarney -

February 12, 2016

UMass revises guest policy in advance of ‘Blarney’ weekend -

February 12, 2016

Jabarie Hinds gives UMass men’s basketball a lift in upset win over VCU -

February 11, 2016

UMass men’s basketball overcomes late VCU surge in 69-63 win -

February 11, 2016

Offensive vandalism found in Integrated Learning Center -

February 11, 2016

Nominations for SGA elections will remain open until Feb. 19 -

February 11, 2016

SGA, MassPIRG work together on open source textbook initiative -

February 11, 2016

Civil rights activist Cornel West to speak at Smith College -

February 11, 2016

Uncertainties surround UMass men’s lacrosse as it kicks off season against Army -

February 11, 2016

New face, same old ‘Havoc’: UMass basketball ready to face familiar style of play against VCU -

February 11, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse begins season with high expectations, seeking eighth straight A-10 championship -

February 11, 2016

There are no more barriers to cross

Well, where to begin?

My role at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian is at its end. My college career is at its end. Some of the great relationships I’ve developed at this University are sadly at their end. What have I left to show for it?

I’m still trying to put that into words.

I arrived to the University of Massachusetts when I was 17. I was always the youngest person in my grade through all levels of schooling. It may seem miniscule, but it was different being among peers who had experienced life a full year more than I had. I often felt that I was missing something, not looking at things the same way because of my age.

It didn’t help that I was constantly alone. I was alone at home, being raised by a hard-working single father because my mother died from breast cancer when I was eight years old. I didn’t have any siblings to share my experiences with. I didn’t have a pet to comfort me.

As much as my situation seemed like a disadvantage to me at the time, I look back and wonder how I would have turned out had it not been for the cards that were dealt to me. My loneliness matured me.

Being alone, however, also made me a guarded person, which was challenged immediately when I came to UMass. I had to open up to people and share myself in ways I had never done before.

The Collegian was an outlet that served that purpose. It allowed me to write, think and interact with people with similar and dissimilar interests. Yet I did those actions in the quietest manner possible. When I worked, I would put on my headphones and not say a word to anyone if I didn’t have to. I did the work I had and left.

My sophomore year, I was appointed an assistant sports editor and for the next four semesters, I’ve never worked harder in my life. I covered game after game, wrote story after story, did interview after interview and gave everything I had to the Collegian.

After becoming the sports editor, ironically, I did hardly any work. That was due in large part to three budding assistants who earned the opportunity to take over the section. Still, I was essentially a figurehead. That is hard for me to admit because I am a prideful person. But that was the reality. Of course I still managed and oversaw the section, but I took an incredible step back in actually contributing anything concrete to the paper. Yet I was compensated for my position. So was that my reward? Did I live and breathe the Collegian for three years for the chance to do nothing in the end?

No. I learned from the people around me in my senior year as much as I learned skills at the Collegian in my first three. I took the time, because I just had more of it, to get to know more about my peers at the paper, as well as my roommates and the many friends I’ve made.

I would often lie awake in bed at night wondering how I will make it in this world. I would feel scared, feeling that I wouldn’t make a living as a journalist. I didn’t know if my life would end up being the one I hoped for. If my experiences at college have done anything for me, it’s quelling those fears.

I now know that hard work can trump anything. I know how invaluable great friends are. I know that I will be just fine.

Honestly, I don’t know what purpose these senior columns serve. I’m not attempting to be funny, intelligent, insightful or nostalgic. I’m not trying to make you feel anything. I don’t know what I hope to accomplish by writing this. For that reason, I didn’t look at any past columns for an idea of what to write because there is no blueprint to this, just like there is no blueprint to life.

But I do hope after reading this that you know both more about me and less at the very same time.

As Patrick Bateman accepted, “even after admitting this, there is no catharsis … and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”

Jay Asser was an entity, something illusory at the Collegian. He can be reached at jay_asser@yahoo.com.

 

Comments
One Response to “There are no more barriers to cross”
  1. Diego Fellows says:

    Jay, I loved reading your articles in the Collegian, very thoughtful, very detailed. You make Salem proud and I know whatever you do next, success will follow. Congrats on another graduation! Well done sir, and I owe you a tennis match soon.

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