For the past month, I’ve ignored the countdown of my final days at Ohio State. When my friends exclaim how many days are left until graduation, I cringe and pretend I don’t hear the number. Well guess what? It’s happening whether I like it or not.
You might be thinking I’m crazy. Why would I not want to graduate? Why would I not want to be done with school forever?
Of course I want to be done. I will not miss the days of having 12 minutes to walk across campus to make it to my next class. I will not miss the knots in my stomach before or after an exam. Nor will I miss being splashed in the rain by a Campus Area Bus Service bus, or the many times I was nearly hit by a Frisbee on the Oval.
But for me, there’s more bitter than sweetness to the end of my college career.
Let me tell you why.
What I’m grateful to have found at OSU, and what I am scared to lose when I wake up on June 11, is the “opposite of loneliness.”
On May 27, The Yale Daily News published a column titled “The Opposite of Loneliness,” written by a woman named Marina Keegan. She died in a car accident before the column was published. In the article, Keegan spoke of her time at Yale and I wept as I read her words, as I relate to every single one.
“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together,” Keegan wrote. “Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s 4 a.m. and no one goes to bed … That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt.”
My opposite of loneliness – fellowship, joy, togetherness – has been my life-changing year with The Lantern.
When you spend roughly 60 hours a week with a dozen people, for 30 weeks, you can expect to get close. But the people I work with are more than my co-workers. We eat together, drink together, attend concerts and sporting events together, laugh together, support each other, break news together … I can keep going, but you get the picture. From nights at Gooeyz, to traveling to Indianapolis for a Big Ten Championship game that our team was not even a part of, to spending time on the field in Ohio Stadium before and after football games, the most memorable, heart-warming moments of my college career have been with these people. We are in this together.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my four years – the teachers who sparked and fueled my passion for journalism, every fellow classmate I shared a laugh and group project with, every person who held a door open for me or helped gather belongings I had dropped on the ground.
Thank you to the friend who taught me it’s OK to wear your heart on your sleeve; to the friend who taught me that sometimes, you have to be ruthless. Thanks to the friend who taught me when to pick my battles and keep the peace; to the person who taught me that at the end of the day, it’s important to continue doing what you love, no matter the sacrifices. And thanks to the friend who taught me that my world is not going to explode when I am handed my diploma – we have been in it together for the last year, but it doesn’t have to end there.
My experience with The Lantern has changed my life, and everyone deserves to have that experience. I hope you all find that, if you haven’t already, and cherish it forever. I know I will.