If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing at the last possible minute.
That’s the attitude I’ve brought to most college assignments, and naturally, the one I bring to this goodbye column. In the past, my procrastination has mostly stemmed from laziness and distraction, but today it’s different. Mostly, I just don’t know how to say goodbye.
You’d think I’d be good at it by now. I grew up in a military town where friends arrived in August and shipped off to their parents’ next post at the end of May. I’ve said goodbye in high-school classrooms, bowling alleys, bedrooms and Wal-Mart parking lots. I’ve hugged, laughed, cried a little (okay, a lot). But this is the first time I’ve been asked to write it all down.
So in lieu of reminiscing about my personal experiences that won’t mean that much to you, I’m going to offer a little bit of advice. Take it, leave it, mock it, it doesn’t matter that much to me. But if you see something you like, do it.
Stop worrying about your damn grades. If I have to hear one more person complain about how they are .01 grade points away from graduating with honors I’m going to do something drastic. No one cares about your grades but you, and as soon as you can liberate yourself from the idea that a 3.5 is any different from a 3.7, you’ll be a lot better off. Learn to love B pluses. Your happiness does not ride on the curve of your Econ class.
Be a part of something. Join a group. Run for a board. Just be a part of something other than your social circle. And don’t do it just for your resume — although that’s usually where these things start — do it because you want to. And if you don’t want to, punch yourself in the head and pull it together, because you’re probably getting pretty boring.
Go downtown. A lot. Ask for SEPTA coins for your birthday. The Penn bubble is easily burst by the blue line or the trolley. There’s a lot to see, and it’s going to take more than four years, so get to it.
Go west. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. Take a walk and see what’s there.
Call your mom. Or your dad. It’s corny, but they love you, and when they leave you three-minute messages that don’t seem to be anything more than a play-by-play of what the dog is doing at that exact moment in time, they’re just trying to connect. And chances are if it weren’t for you, they’d be driving their convertible to the beach right now, so throw them a bone.
Find somebody to love. A boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, roommate, whatever. Keep them close. Love them too hard, even — Velveteen Rabbit style until things come a little loose at the seams. Patch it up, and repeat. Blah, blah, mushy stuff.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. You aren’t a CEO yet. You are a college student. Think about that before you fight someone over a late assignment or missed text. The world isn’t going to stop spinning.
Be a nice person. Please? We need more of you.
Thanks to everyone who has made Penn meaningful to me, and those who have given me advice a whole lot more helpful than anything you’ve read here.
See you all in the future.
Paul Richards is a College senior from Carlisle, Pa. He is the former senior news editor of the DP and outgoing features editor of 34th Street Magazine. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Paul hopes to move to Washington, D.C. and either write professionally or work for a non-profit.
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