I started writing this column in my head last April as I was walking through campus. It was raining hard and I was rainboot-less and living in Plimpton, so naturally, my feet were soaked by the time I reached the gates. As I trod carefully (so as to not eat shit), I was reminded of one of the first articles I ever edited for Spec. It was called “Hateful Things” and it enumerated annoying aspects about the University that beg a collective groan from the masses. The specific hateful thing that came to mind that night was about halfway down the writer’s list: “The entire campus is made of marble, so when it rains, students have an 80 percent chance of death.” And hey, look at that, it was a senior column too. Well, Chris Beam was on to something. There are tons of things wrong with this school—staff edits, Bwog comments, the Varsity Show, and I will be the first to tell you that—but having a mechanism through which and a group with which to bitch is perhaps the most effective way to deal with them and get out of here alive. But please note, this column isn’t about bitching. It’s about acknowledging that sometimes things here are difficult (when isn’t life sometimes?) and that my getting through those times, and these past four years, was due in large part to Spec.
I joined the ’tator in the spring of my freshman year. I was attracted by the witty fliers, by the prospect of meeting people, and because it was between this and cheerleading—I didn’t partake in either in high school—and my roommate threatened to move out if I joined the latter. I guess a “thank you” is in order, Shana.
After Spec, joining Copy just sort of happened naturally. I’ve heard a lot of analogies describing that glorious section—someone charmingly called it “the bastard child of Spectator” and another wise person likened it to “being a surgeon in the Civil War—usually all you can do is hack off the most gangrenous part and hope for the best.” While I agree with the statements from both of those Copygods, I think I’d have to say that it’s like Columbia: The only time it ever gets any recognition is when it fucks up (and/or doesn’t catch some inaccuracy about the Dalai Lama or something).
And because Copy gets no love, I’d like even more so to note my appreciation for it, especially since it was through the section that I met some of my best friends. They were my roommates, my support system, and my family when my real family was so far away. And they’re probably the only people reading this right now. For them I am truly grateful.
Writing columns is hard. No wonder I joined Copy.
So to you, Copybrethren: Thank you. It has been a pleasure working with you and an honor leading (e-mailing) you briefly on 132. You’ve given me more than you could ever imagine and, more importantly, you’ve had—and continue to have—an unquantifiable effect on the paper. Without you, Spec might as well be written in Jiwarli, because no one would be able to understand it.
And while I’m doing the senior thing and imparting gratitude, I guess I should also pass on some things I’ve learned and advice to future ’tator tots. Here goes: So little of what you learn at this school comes from classes so don’t waste four years in the library, the best bagels in the area are at Absolute (107th and Broadway), the plural of “haiku” is “haiku,” walking through campus at six in the morning is an almost religious experience, it’s pronounced “Sker-mer-horn” (it’s Dutch), if someone sneezes, for god’s sake, you should say “bless you,” and no matter how much you planned, hoped, or expected, your college experience will never be perfect (similarly, no matter how long I pore over this column, it won’t be either). Nothing is.
But let’s not dwell on that. We are young, generally devoid of responsibilities, and relatively healthy (I will not ask the last time you slept/ate a balanced meal), and we are in one of the greatest cities and at one of the finest institutions in the world. So for that, I’d like to toast to our favorite underestimated punctuation and athlete. Whichever talented ACE is editing this, raise your beer (let’s be honest, you’re drinking a beer right now, aren’t you?) and toast with me: to the Oxford comma (and JB)! If production hurries up, why don’t you meet me at The Heights when you’re finished?
The author is a Barnard College senior majoring in anthropology. She was the deputy copy editor for the first semester of the 132nd Deputy Board and the copy editor for the second semester of the 132nd Managing Board.