Building a life out of Legos

By Justin Surgent

Photo courtesy of Justin Surgent
Photo courtesy of Justin Surgent

Why write a senior column?

This is a question I’ve been thinking about for the weeks the idea has been proposed. I have nothing new to say, no truly enlightening advice to offer underclassmen and fellow seniors alike. I, like many others, will likely leave this university easily forgotten, another number amongst the masses.

I highly doubt they’ll ask me to return as a distinguished alumnus.

I feel most of my colleagues will write their pieces talking about the friends they’ve made, the advancements they’ve achieved and the dreams they hope to live up to. I too feel all of those things, but have a hard time saying them again.

Instead, I want to write about Legos.

I’m not sure about you, but as a child, I played with Legos. I built endless creations with the limited (or not so limited) number of blocks I had, trying my best to make something interesting to show mom and dad. I would make cars and houses, spaceships and castles, with pieces strewn across the floor for a naked foot to step on. The reoccurring factor in all this, however, was that every creation began with the same thing: a building block.

College, like most aspects in young life, is a building block.

It’s definitely not a necessary building block, as it’s one many people can grow without. And sometimes it’s not the most seemingly useful building block either. Like the weird shaped Lego that’s 50 percent study and 50 percent beer, the importance of college can’t always be easily understood until it’s necessary.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s about more than just the degree.

My time here has taught me a lot, loads more than 900 words in a newspaper article can articulate. I’ve become my own person, learned to love and hate my passions, and beyond everything else, learned that my own future is as opaque, or more so, than when I started this adventure, which is beautifully frustrating.

That, and I’ve made some fantastic friends, with whom I’ve shared some amazing memories.

I, like many others, hope to someday write words you all will want to read, beyond the scope of a free college daily. I, like many others, hope to make a career in the dying world of a print medium that is losing life and monetary value to a changing professional landscape.

I, like many others, am wondering how the hell I can make it in this world in a field I love that offers little to the creative who live life for passion.

I wish I could give you advice. I wish I had excellent internships and a job to quote to tell you “it’s great, you can do it.” I wish I could see and prove that the grass is greener beyond the other side of graduation.

But I can’t. Not yet.

I’m leaving here with a degree in journalism and a handful of close friends I’ll keep in touch with. I’m leaving with professors I hope to consult and keep in touch with as my future unfolds and others I can’t wait to leave forever.

So if I have nothing grand to say, why am I speaking at all?

I want to leave everyone who reads this, friends and foes alike, with a message.

Regardless of all you’ve done here, under university walls, I hope you all succeed. College is a hard place to comprehend. We’re put here as young adults, with dreams and ideas and told to do busy work most of the time. Exceedingly long papers for mindless but necessary Gen Eds can cloud your drive and passion toward achieving whatever it is you want to do. It’s hard to understand what this all means for the long run.

But the work you’ve done, the work I’ve done – it will all pay off somewhere.

Like the monumental, awkwardly shaped Lego that makes the creation, things learned and gained in college will always find their place in life. Whether it’s friends, classes, internships or extra-curricular activities, everything you learn from this place has some spot in the creation of your career and your life.

It may seem large, it may seem small, but spending four years here is a building block for the future.

I hope you all do well. I hope you all build your dreams out of the blocks you’ve learned here and far beyond. And most of all, I hope all these connections mean something when we’re all on the hunt for jobs to be that perfect Lego piece to finish a business creation.

I’m sure we’ll fit right in.

Justin Surgent was the Collegian Photo Editor. He can be reached at [email protected]