Jared McDonald | Stumped for senior column ideas

Farewell Column | Thirty six ways to mark the end of your time at Penn

· April 25, 2012, 2:29 am   ·  Updated April 25, 2012, 9:27 pm

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Jared McDonald

Despite the brilliance embodied year after year by Daily Pennsylvanian seniors — or by most of us, at least — it’s plainly obvious that our farewell columns can be more than a little repetitive and, dare I say, uninteresting.

So as much as I would love to spell out the metaphor I’ve come up with that explains life’s deepest mysteries (hint: it’s awesome), it’s as a long-time editor and reporter at this place that I take up the weighty responsibility of giving everybody a few ideas for senior columns to come.

But before I go any further, let me put this obligatory line in to thank my friends, family and the DP for everything. Aww!

Without any further ado — except for this little bit of ado! — I give you an arbitrarily chosen number of ways to put some spice in your senior sign-off:

1. Pretend you went to Harvard instead. Now write your column.

2. Describe the appearance of your face, down to the freckle, before and after Penn. It’s okay to work from source photos.

3. Write a new fight song for Penn.

4. Write a fight song for the DP. We could really use one. You know, newspapers.

5. List out everything you’ve eaten in the past 48 hours, preferably accompanied with high-res photos.

6. Look into the etymology of the word “senior.” (No, no, please don’t. This is the only one that’s a joke.)

7. Write a piece of semi-autobiographical detective fiction.

8. Copy and paste the lyrics of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song until you’re out of space.

9. Write out the coolest Foursquare check-ins of your college career. I’ve got the Leaning Tower of Pisa and about 497 each at Capogiro and the DP. Beat that, fools.

10. Write about the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at Fresh Grocer.

11. Write out as many digits of pi as you can fit. Space isn’t an issue online, kids…

12. Write out your favorite dinner recipe from college. Don’t forget to tell everyone how to serve it!

13. Pretend you designed the SEPTA subway system. Justify your existence.

14. Put your forehead on the keyboard. Roll it left, then right, and repeat until you get to about 3,000 characters. I’ve done things like this for class before. You wish I was joking.

15. Keep a dream diary. Use it as your column. Also did this for class.

16. Write out all the answers, in order, from an old multiple-choice exam your professor clearly hasn’t updated in decades. As a disclaimer: being an English major with a writing concentration, I was left out of the academic bliss of tests like these.

17. Write about all of the campus organizations you didn’t join and why.

18. Rap battle yourself.

19. Rap battle the column running next to yours. Even if the author isn’t in on it.

20. Google your name. Indiscriminately paste everything that appears on the first page.

21. Paste in the shout-outs you send 34th Street every semester but that still have yet to be published. They still won’t be funny, but at least you got them into print.

22. Tell us about your first beer, preferably twisting the story to become a parable for your political beliefs.

23. Write page 317 of your 317-page autobiography. “And then I was lying in bed and I — ”

24. Write the whole thing using only punctuation marks. ?!?!?!?!?!?!?.

25. Tell the story of the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. Describe the texture, flavor and aroma.

26. Write out all the things you wish you could have asked Amy Gutmann at her class picnics but didn’t because you were too busy scarfing down brownies.

27. Use all your space lamenting not having enough space.

28. One word: memes.

29. Two words: Wharton memes.

30. Fill the column with your beautiful Instagram photos from South America. (You know who you are.)

31. Write a belated response to that DP column lambasting Capogiro. Capo 4 Lyfe!

32. Revisit the debate over cake versus pie.

33. Inside jokes.

34. Jokes without context.

35. Or both.

36. Make a list of things you could have written but didn’t. That’d be original.

And for the record, be great and follow your dreams and all that stuff.

Jared McDonald is a former Daily Pennsylvanian online managing editor, city news editor and staff writer from Denver, Colo., as well as a December 2011 College graduate. Jared is moving to New York where he hopes to write all 36 of these columns. His email address is jared.r.mcdonald@gmail.com.

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