Categorized | Viewpoints

Making college mementos

I have never been a present-thinking individual. The future, for all my optimism and magical thinking, is different, and therefore superior for the plain potential of change. Graduation is less of a future anxiety than something that could become anything: a beach house, a road trip, a decent job or new people. All these things arrive without trouble — isn’t that convenient?

In light of this, I find the sudden, pre-grad sentimentality I’ve been experiencing strange and very inconvenient. I’m an all-talk writer with all sorts of almost-motivations; I shouldn’t have time for nostalgia.

But memories prove meaning, don’t they? Thanks to college, and all the friends involved in the following misadventures, I’ve fallen asleep on a beach in Portugal, I’ve had a roommate introduce me to the music of Doctor Zhivago, I’ve bandied advice at Wooster’s Writing Center, attended a conference on imagination at Oxford University, enjoyed a spontaneous road trip to a Columbus job fair, discussed eye-opening material for senior study at the back of Kauke, cautiously appreciated midnight walks through nebulous Dublin suburbs, indulged in coffee occasions at Weber House, dyed my hair blue with Voice comrades in the Luce Hall laundry room and I once explored the town of Wooster at 6 a.m., where I snagged a picture of morning light rendering a dozen, perfectly still birdfeeders luminous.

These things were worth it: whatever it entails (stress, hard work, depression). I know I’m selfish for citing these moments, more expository than relatable. It’s my hope that these anecdotes prove the vitality of moments that are worth the wait of pervasive challenges, even if that statement arrives on a dumb optimism that lacks the foundation of a guarantee. College is hard, and it isn’t for everyone, but damn if it doesn’t provide you with some good stories.

In addition to all these things I’d like to remember 30 years from now, I want to emphasize that my three-year tenure on The Voice has been fundamental to my character (in-progress). Editors and writers past and present have profoundly impacted my ability to pull myself from an absorbing, negative headspace. They’ve made my ambition what it is today, they’ve made me laugh and they’ve helped me become a more cognizant thinker. A million thank yous to our little team behind Mom’s: here’s to conquering all our challenges in the land of alternative facts.

Finally, a note for the rest of campus. If you haven’t noticed, we’re living in a time of outrageously self-interested governments, a hurt climate and oppressive atrocities directed at minority groups without end. These things won’t improve tomorrow, but maybe they will 100 years from now, as long as we avoid succumbing to the laziness of accepting the status-quo. For you who might be reading this, waste no effort. Practice bravery. Maybe we’ll win yet.

Lily Iserson, Chief Copy Editor for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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