In true college fashion, I wrote this senior column within the hour it was due on a bus. Oh god, this transition to the real world won’t be pretty. How do students who have been taught to lament capitalism and the patriarchy apply the skills they’ve learned into something meaningful? For those of us without immediate job prospects, how do we adjust to a summer of anticipation, anxiety and eventual employment?
Some of us are experiencing feelings of doubt about these past few years. Did we really receive the quality education we were promised at orientation, or were some of us cheated with easy A’s or inadequate professors? It took me a long time to understand that my professors were responsible for teaching me. Going to class and skating by barely opening a textbook is passive learning. We may have been rewarded for it with impressive grade-point averages, but the real education we’ve gained is measured by our activities outside of the classroom.
I came to college with the goal of becoming a better writer. And while it’s still not where I would like it to be, I understand that no professor can ever help that. I’ve had phenomenal teachers over the past four years who have cared enough about their students to provide genuine feedback on their work and to ensure growth throughout the semester. I’ve also had Pavlovian professors who conditioned their students to reproduce their ideals rather than counter them.
I’m grateful for my college experiences outside of class, which I believe helped me to achieve my goal of becoming a better writer. Joining Pipe Dream, writing satire for The Bing Butt, creating and writing for the sketch comedy show Binghamton Night Live and doing stand-up comedy are the richest and most memorable experiences I have from college. I’m grateful that my love of comedy will be passed down through a show I was able to make only through the dedication of the Hinman Production Company, whose members have a strong passion to make people laugh and create something bigger than themselves.
There are a few people I wish to thank for making my college experience:
To my mom, who would have loved to go to college: You always listened to me when I complained about my trivial college drama even though I sounded unappreciative of being at such a great university. Thank you. Also, you were right when you told me my hair would fall out if I tried to be a vegetarian because I wouldn’t do it right. But you still let me have my phase. You are the first person I come to when times are tough, and you always will be.
To my dad, who would have loved it if I had picked up an instrument, learned a new language or studied a better major: I know you still think these things and you’re absolutely right. But thank you for never pressuring me and for encouraging me to make my own mistakes.
To Fraser Leslie, the guy who lived next door to me freshman year in Rafuse 203 and we made out in the lounge that one time during Mutant Mania: I never thought I would still be with a freshman hookup, but I’m glad life happened that way.
To my niece, Francesca, who was born my first semester during my first and only a cappella semester show: I’m so excited to watch you grow up firsthand and not on Facebook.
I probably won’t stay in contact with more than two people I’ve met at college. The connections I have made here are not strong enough to endure time, distance and apathy. But I will always cherish their kindness and wisdom and time I’ve had with them.
The class of 2018 is walking away not only with a diploma, but with a choice. The choice to move up in the world and be the generation our parents say we can be, or not to. If my nihilist classmates have taught me anything, it’s that nothing matters. (But really, it does). Thank you Bing and thank you Pipe Dream for letting me write this column the hour before it was due, in true college fashion.
Kristen DiPietra is a senior double-majoring in English and human development.