Senior Reflections

So, last night was Senior Reflections, a night with student speakers, awards and performances to remember the past four years. Rachel Johnson (our Senior Class Coordinator) has done a great job all year, and this was another example. The show was fantastic. Rachel had asked me to speak about my four years of living on-campus, so I did. Below is my speech for those of you who weren’t able to make it:

Thank you Ben, thanks Janae. I also want to thank Bill [Robinson, our president] for publicly embarrassing my roommate of three years, Andrew Knapp. I am now going to embarrass the rest of my friends.

I’ve spent my four years at Whitworth in four different dorms: I was traditiated into Baldwin-Jenkins, moved to MacMillan Hall, and served as an RA in Stewart Hall and Arend Hall.

Some special things can happen when you live on a hall with 20 young men at Whitworth. These times are special because their grand spectacle, their mass stupidity, or sometimes a colossal combination of the two. At this point, it would be negligent of me to not mention an example. When we lived on the second floor of Mac, the dorm leadership put on an event in our hall called “Hall Slip-n-Slide.” Now, I know what you’re all thinking, and you’re right: This idea was as terrible as it sounds. The RAs from Mac 2nd and 3rd covered the hall in big blue tarps and then coated those with soybean oil and dish soap. We then stripped down to our skivvies (or less) and took turns running down the hall and sliding on our bellies. Jason Barnes ended up going to the hospital, Stefan Robinson probably should have gone, and Cory Marshall gave himself one fantastic nickname. He cut the sleeves off of a t-shirt, rolled them into a horn and taped it to his forehead. Then he turned the shirt inside-out and wrote, “I am the Sexy Unicorn” on it.

It isn’t just the occasional slip-n-slide that makes Whitworth’s dorm life great, though:

It’s waking up to the sound of your roommate sneaking back after hanging out with that freshman girl from the Village again.

It’s overwhelming the Dockside dessert restaurant at the Couer D’Alene Resort with about 60 Stewart Hall residents.

It’s staying in the HUB until 3:00 AM to change the “Quote of the Week” board so that it reads “Quote of the Year.” Yes, that was me. [Note: Alice was in on this one too]

It’s walking over to your professor’s office because you just need someone to talk to.

It’s building a snow fort outside Mac Hall, sleeping in it, and protecting it against 50 BJ freshmen in a snowball fight the week before finals.

It’s staying up until 4:00am in the Arend Basement with students from all four years, talking about the upcoming election.

It’s registering for the last spot in Intro to Sociology, and hearing Alex Nelson scream obscenities from down the hall in BJ because he was gunning for that last spot, too.

It’s saving money on gas and letting someone else cook for you for a couple more years.

It’s throwing cinder blocks at a TV during Carlson ManFest, an annual celebration of testosterone at its most stereotypical.

It’s having someone to say hi to when you walk into your dorm during Prime Time each night.

It’s going to your roommate’s senior recital, and looking around to see that ten of your friends are wearing their hall t-shirts – from two years ago.

It’s breaking a window in the Science Building by launching a water balloon from Stewart Hall.

I have the rest of my life to live off-campus, and I’m looking forward to it. But I’ll never forget the people I met, the number of mushrooms and onions I ate, and the conversations we had. College is a time to learn – about a major concentration, of course, but also about humanity. About how we live with other people, how we love, and how we are to act.

To conclude, I have to thank everyone who lived with me in these four amazing dorms – in BJ, Mac, Stewart or Arend. All of my hallmates, roommates, my two RA teams, and every other resident. Thank you. I may not be the Sexy Unicorn, but I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without all of you.

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The End

Okay, the blog is still going. Don’t worry. I realize that my lack of updates the past few days and the title of this post may be misleading.

Anyway, the point is that things are ending. Commencement is on Sunday afternoon, and so I have heard the following question OVER and OVER: “So, you’re graduating, huh? How do you feel about that?”

At this point, I decide to bite my tongue because honestly, I am sick and tired of talking about graduation. I’ve been a senior all year, and they do a pretty good job of cramming it down your throat. “Okay, you’re a senior in college now. No matter what you’re doing next year, you should never ever forget the fact that you’re GRADUATING! WOOOOOO”

Sheesh. The whole thing seems kind of high school to me. Which is what I say when I liked something in high school, but it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here; I’m pumped for some of the events (English Department Senior Reading and Senior Reflections, specifically). What I don’t like so much is that several of the senior events have been advertised and people say, “You should go to this,” but they don’t give any information. The conversation usually goes like this: “You should go to Senior Commissioning.” “Oh yeah? What’s that?” “Well… Uh… It’s like, a service, for all the seniors.” “What’s the difference between that and Baccalaureate?” “Um… Well, it’s different.” “How?” “I don’t know…”

But honestly, I’m kind of ambivalent about the whole “walking across a stage” thing. I know it’s a huge milestone, but I’m going to pick up my diploma and then head straight back to Whitworth to begin MIT in three weeks. Also, the vast majority of the people I love and spend time with will be here next year. So that’s not a huge factor (although I will miss dearly a few of the people who are leaving).

What does make me more emotional, though, is all of the “lasts” I’ve been having. I took my last classes on Monday, and that’s when it hit me. I had the two best classes I could think of to end on: Interpersonal Communication with Ron Pyle and Media Criticism with Jim McPherson. WOW. These two men have meant the world to me for a lot of different reasons throughout my four years at Whitworth, and I felt pretty good that I could finish my last semester with them.

I already ate my last dinner in Saga (thank goodness).

I had my last Prime Time on Wednesday. James and I had “classy study time,” which meant “I do a crossword puzzle while James studies for Media Criticism.” I’ve done roughly 135 Prime Times over the past two years, and they have always been a highlight of the week for me. I think through the 135, there have only been one or two that I didn’t enjoy. Sure, the timing was sometimes inconvenient, but that was really my fault for scheduling a Prime Time on the night before a big paper was due.

Alice and I had to miss our last radio show to study for tests, which sucked. I think we might squeeze one into the next couple of days in order to finish this thing off right.

Well, it’s about 2:45 am. I am going to bed whether you like it or not. Tomorrow is another big day in the life of A Graduating Senior!

Why teaching?

As an undergraduate student, I have had no official education classes or training. The MIT program is going to be a crash course for me, and I’m looking forward to it. But the number one question I’ve already heard (and I’ve been told that I will keep hearing it) has been, “So, why do you want to be a teacher?”

At my high school, there was such a focus on “career.” Back then, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be involved with young people. At first, I thought I wanted to work in the church as a minister or a youth pastor. After working closely with my youth pastor on a couple of projects, I realized that this job wasn’t quite my cup of tea. I decided to look for other jobs where I could work with high schoolers, which naturally brought me to teaching.

Throughout my high school years, I was fortunate that many of the issues my friends and I had were not problems with substance abuse, violence or unhealthy habits. We did, however, tend to complain about our teachers. Back then, a thought crossed my mind – if there were one more great teacher in this world, that many students would be more satisfied with their high school experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Whitworth Forum

So in addition to Onward and Upward and my emo high-school blogs, I also have done a few posts for the Whitworth Forum. Daniel Walters is one of my residents and a good friend who is smart as a whip and truly believes in the idea that students can improve Whitworth for future generations. The Forum is one more tool for conversation that can hopefully help Whitworth students think critically about issues facing them that don’t necessarily get covered in The Whitworthian. I believe in Daniel’s mission here, and contribute more as a commentator than an actual author of new posts. However, I have written a few things I’m proud of. Here are the links, for those of you who know me but don’t know about the Forum (yet).

What was David Bowie thinking?

Obligatory Top Ten Albums of 2007 List (and the 2006 edition)

Top Ten Songs of 2004-2008

You’ll notice that they’re all about music. Hmm. More on that later.

Hello world!

Hey-oh!

So, this is my new blog. I’m about to graduate from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA with a BA in English and a Journalism minor. Next year, I will be attending – you guessed it – Whitworth University to begin the Masters in Teaching program. I’m aiming to teach high school English and hopefully advise a newspaper staff somewhere.

It is going to be sweet.

So, I used to (like, in high school) blog about my innermost feelings. But those entries were all protected, and I was writing my innermost feelings to nobody in particular. Which serves its purpose just fine, but this is different. I’m writing this to keep friends, family and whoever else might be out there up to date on my current doings.

Keep in touch. I’ll be here.

The Final Countdown – 5/6

Europe – The Final Countdown
Animal Collective – Peacebone
The Hold Steady – Chips Ahoy!
Arcade Fire – Intervention
Belle and Sebastian – Your Cover’s Blown
Mostly Bears – Airports
Brand New – The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
Taking Back Sunday – Cute Without the E (Cut From The Team)
Fall Out Boy – I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth
The Format – Tune Out
Alkaline Trio – Help Me
Interpol – Evil
Bloc Party – I Still Remember
The Decemberists – Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
Death Cab For Cutie – Photobooth
The Shins – Girl Sailor
The National – Fake Empire
Lindsey Pool – Doomed to Lose
Weezer – Don’t Let Go
Spoon – Don’t You Evah
The Promise Ring – Happiness is All The Rage
Ozma – Shooting Stars
Motion City Soundtrack – Even if it Kills Me
The Killers – Sam’s Town
The Matches – Wake The Sun