It's goodbye for now, but a parting thought

For multiple reasons, I told myself I wouldn’t write a farewell column. For starters, I’m not going anywhere. As I indicated in my last column, I will be bringing my talents back to the Capstone for one more final year in furthering my education.

I honestly think the concept of a farewell column is somewhat played out. I lack the accomplishments to fondly boast of the trials and tribulations that I embraced as an undergraduate. Alternatively, I probably lack the writing skills to make sense of what the past four years have truly meant to me.

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be a hack campus politico, terrible fraternity officer and mediocre writer. While I actually do give myself more credit than that, I learned very early on in college to not take myself too seriously.

My good friend Ashley Getwan quoted her grandfather in her own farewell column yesterday. He said, “At the end of the day, relationships matter.”

While I didn’t become conscious of it until recently, relationships are truly what define me. I have never lain awake in bed stressing about a paper or test (my professors can attest to that). However, I have spent countless hours worrying about my friends’ well being.

In 30 years, I highly doubt I will remember what meaningless problem I debated in Room 28 at the DKE house. I will, however, value the relationships I made with those people for the rest of life. I still do not understand how we managed to disguise a Maxim party as a philanthropy cookout, but it was an excellent job nonetheless.

I doubt I will remember the final score to any of Alabama’s games during my college career. However, I am confident I will be able to tell you exactly where I was and who I was with when Terrence Cody blocked Tennessee’s field goal in 2009.

I have even realized today how trivial Student Government Association elections have become to me. There was a time when it truly mattered to me who was in charge of our student government. I have since realized it is all a simple game with few concrete results.

While my jaded outlook may come off as crass, I have learned that the biggest thing I gained from my experience in campus politics is the relationships I made — no, not the “fratty” networking kind of relationships, but actual, human friendships. There are great, genuine people working in that office (greek and independent), and I wish more people acknowledged that.

I’m not going to sit here and tell everyone that I don’t have any regrets in college. I probably should have eaten better, drank less and studied more. I probably shouldn’t have procrastinated my way through two separate colleges. I wish I had branched out more, and I should probably submit this column to my editor before they print without me.

Before I end this year, I want to thank everyone for the encouragement in my column. You would be surprised how much a “like” on Facebook can mean to a writer. I never would have thought I would have my own spot every Tuesday in The Crimson White my freshman year, and it truly has been a treat.

Thanks for a great four years, UA, and I’m coming back for more.

 

Jake Gray is a senior majoring in economics and journalism. His column runs on Tuesdays.

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