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A Mere Experience: Columnist Takes His Final Bow

Ever since I was a freshman, I always wondered what I would write about for my final article in The Sandspur. After having written more than 70 pieces over the last four years, including the work I have done with this column, I have had the opportunity to say most anything and everything that has come to mind. I have discussed world affairs and the national political scene. I have had the chance to meet and interview prolific writers and scholars. Most of all, I was given a platform to discuss my own personal experiences and beliefs in a conversational manner via “The Sandspur Hour” on WPRK and with this column, “A Mere Experience.”

My goal for this column has been the same since the moment I was first given the opportunity to write for The Sandspur the summer before I came to Rollins. I have always tried, through my writing, to share my honesty and truth with you all. If my words made someone laugh, touched their heart, or caused you to think of an issue in a different light, those responses were more than I could have ever asked for.

People have asked over the years about why I write for The Sandspur. To some people, the ‘Spur is both entertaining and insightful, while others find it controversial and inflammatory. I have been as much a critic of this paper as I have loved it. It has the potential to do great good, and that is a goal that The Sandspur strives for. Personally, over the last four years, it has been a home to me. My initial excursions into the world of journalism, my introduction to the college’s theatre department, and every friendship I have made at Rollins all stem from my first year working at this paper.

To my past Editors-in-Chief and Managing Editors, I cannot thank you enough. Nick, Greg, Shannon, Jenn, Hana, and Melanie, you all have taught me some of the most important lessons I have ever learned, but more importantly, you accepted me so effortlessly into The Sandspur family.

To my fellow Sandspurians from past and present, especially my fellow seniors, I am honored to have shared this journey with you. I could think of no better group of individuals to share all the drama and successes that came in creating this newspaper.

Finally, to Emily Russell, I thank you for your part in the success of this paper. Never once did I have to question the support you gave us all and the faith you had in us to provide a product to be proud of. You stood back and allowed us to grow not only as an organization, but as people. This paper gave me the chance to better hone my writing ability, so for that and much more, I could not be more appreciate for all you have done for us.

As I look back on my four years, I have learned many valuable lessons, especially the following: we are more than the institutions we are a part of because our love transcends the confinement of any entity that tries to contain it. The power that this paper holds and its transformative nature is solely dependent on the people who comprise its infrastructure. I hope that this tradition of excellence continues to grow after I am gone.

As I said before, all I ever hoped for this little column was to get you to think, make you laugh, and hopefully to be of help. And if all else failed, at least you got a few wise words in the form of a quote to hold onto at the end of the day.  With that mission in mind, I hope to leave you all with these final words:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”

This quote, from the Semisonic song “Closing Time,” began my first “A Mere Experience.” As I end my journey at Rollins, I know that I will begin “the rest of my life,” but really, life has only one definite beginning and end. Everything else is the intermingling and intertwining of the many experiences that create the tapestry of our lives. I hope that along the journey, you both find your bliss and fight for your happiness. Sometimes you have to fight like hell against the stress, the worry, the disappointment, and the pain in order to achieve joy. This paper has been my bliss for four years now, and even when times got tough, the happiness that came from late nights at The Sandspur office is not comparable to any other experience. So, to quote myself for once: “’Closing Time’ is not the song you play after you cross the finish line. It’s a reminder for you to celebrate right before the end of the race. We still have tons of time.  But all the doors are opening and it’ll be our time to go into the world. Like a last call for alcohol, if you will. I hope you have found a few solid friends. Because while you don’t have to go home, you sure as hell can’t stay here.”

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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