Think Twice | Closing with conviction

Senior column by Ali Kokot and Hayley Brooks | After four years of conversation, we’ve figured out where we stand and how to own it

· May 14, 2014, 9:43 pm   ·  Updated May 16, 2014, 5:29 pm

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Dear friends, we missed you this semester!

Luckily, The Daily Pennsylvanian has granted us one last ditty before we drop the mic and ship off to do who knows what. Our cookies have gone stale and our painting (*ed note: poster from Ikea) fell off the wall. So we’ll take the hint. It’s time to go.

Just nine days away from graduation, we’ve tried to figure out what our little Think Twice column was really about. Looking back on our musings, some sophomoric and others insightful, we realized that our column documented our process of figuring out who we were, who we wanted to be and how we could best shrink that gap.

We’ve come a long way, but we’re still working on it — Hayley’s outfit of choice remains a monogrammed pink terry cloth robe and a pair of blue crocs.

In the last four years, we’ve learned to work through the questions that we used to ask our parents, and to take responsibility for the results. Should I study for this test? Do I owe her an apology? To grind or not to grind?

Though these questions may seem trifling, their answers get at how we wish to present ourselves, the scope of our moral compass and so much more.

If we didn’t know the answer to a social, academic or moral quandary, and Google didn’t either, we’d often turn to our friends. From how things are done down South to what’s kosher in New Dehli, everyone’s perspectives have complicated, yet enriched, our decision-making.

It’s like that Socrates quote — “the more you know the less you know,” or something.

Through the years, we’ve made friends who have converted to Judaism, stopped eating meat, started kissing girls, changed majors three times, turned political, chopped their hair off, found the violin again and picked careers against their parents’ wishes.

We didn’t always agree with their decisions, but we respected them. By consulting each other and funneling through the noise, we each took our own stances and then tried our best to stick to those convictions.

Freshman year, little Ali signed up be the crime reporter for the DP. She learned what it’s truly like to go against the current, like when she’d be running towards the scene of the crime when everybody else was literally running away...

We’d like to challenge you to do the same. To think twice (sorry, we had to, it’s our last column!) about what you do, what you believe in and if those things add up. We highly recommend the shower for this exercise.

But finding your voice can be really hard! Penn often proves to be a soul-sucking place, socially, academically and professionally. And it’s difficult to acknowledge that you don’t always know the answers to things, or to dodge the flack you might get for taking the less-sexy route. See our career paths: lobstering and children’s television.

But we are cool with this.

Confidence really is the gateway to so much: respect, happiness, capacity to love and be loved in every kind of relationship. We’ve come to the conclusion, at least for right now, that building a sense of internal confidence consists of a three step process — honesty, vulnerability and ownership.

If you can laugh at yourself and own your choices, no one bothers you. Eat lunch alone when you feel like it. Don’t subscribe to the game if you don’t want to. No apologies, no justifications.

Channel Iggy Azalea. Own it.

Here’s our turn to be honest. We were freaked out the night before our first column went live. We thought people would think we were either really lame or just plain absurd — which Under the Button did — and probably asked our high school English teacher, friends, parents and kitty to read it multiple times to ensure that we wouldn’t seriously regret having our names stamped on an article that would forever live on the internet.

But we did it! And we’re glad that sometimes you liked them and sometimes you didn’t, because we learned to stand by what we’d printed either way. Thank you all so much for reading, writing in and sharing stories and conversation with us.

And to our poor children who unearth this digital time capsule in 10-20 years, we hope you’ll think your moms were cool. We may not even be, but isn’t that the point?

Ali Kokot and Hayley Brooks are College seniors from New York and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., respectively. You can email them at thinktwicecolumn@gmail.com or follow them at @haybethbrooks and@alikokot

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