I’m not graduating this year.
I was supposed to, but s*** happens, and I’m not. But I’m writing my senior column anyway, so for one last time, my name can be published next to those of my actually-graduating best friends.
Since the day I moved into the University of Massachusetts in late August 2008, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian has consumed a huge part of my life. I started as a writer, became an assistant editor in Arts & Living during the spring semester of my sophomore year, spent this past academic year as the section’s editor and will continue to do so this fall.
There are few things in this world that I care about more than the Daily Collegian. I will continue to hold memories of my time here very close to my heart until the day I die. If I tear up when the times comes for me to actually graduate, it will be because the idea of leaving this newsroom can be unbearable. Hell, I have even half-seriously considered getting a Collegian tattoo.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. To put it simply, there are a lot of people I’m going to miss really terribly. It’s going to take a while to come to terms with their absence from the newsroom during weekly meetings and nights at the desk. There are people from years past whose graduations I am still lamenting. There are certain things that I’ll never forget: Justin dancing furiously to Lady Gaga on the Arts desk; filming our April Fools’ Day video specials; flipping my diva switch to the “on” position every week with my Minaj ladies.
But my love for this place, this subterranean cave of a place that has kept me pasty and pale for the last four years and which has been the source of so much frustration as well as joy, goes beyond the newspaper I hold in my hands every day. The Collegian has been the place where I have made some of the best friends I could ever hope for. It has been my crutch during hard times. I’ve never known a more comforting and supportive atmosphere than this one.
The Collegian has taught me a lot; not only about journalism and writing, but about people and how compassionate they can be. I believe that my involvement here has made me a better person. I believe this because I have learned so much from the friends I have made in this place.
If you’re a human being like I am, you have problems from time to time. Personally, the past year has been the hardest for me. My non-Collegian life has taken hit after hit. I was encouraged to withdraw by a few school officials. The most difficult hurdle came in September. Coping with particularly serious problems is a day-to-day thing; some days are perfectly fine, and others not so much. Everyone needs a support system somewhere. I found mine at the Collegian. I didn’t expect so many people to be as helpful as this staff. For the last eight months, I’ve had dozens of free counseling sessions with these people. They have truly been my collective rock.
As much as I’ll miss all of you graduates, next year’s staff will be exciting to work with. It’s a huge relief to be living with two fabulous diva queens from this newspaper in the fall. I can’t wait to continue working with the staffers who will be sticking around. Perhaps it’s best to focus on this happiness instead of repeating how much I’ll miss all these other mother******s.
As I sat down to type this out, what is supposed to be my final piece for the Daily Collegian, I am inhibited by the fact that I’ll be returning to this place for one last semester. This isn’t my last night working here; far from it. I imagine next semester I may even be here more often than I have been in the last four years. The thought of not seeing those who are graduating on a daily basis anymore is frightening at times.
So that’s it. I’m never turning in my key to the office. Not that I needed it anyway.
Ellie Rulon-Miller is the Arts and Living Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.