Features

Adventures Between Star-Hunting: How My Plans Were Forgotten

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Ian Hammock/FLICKR

Sarah Swindell
    Opinions Editor 

Everything in college seems to go by in the blink of an eye. I try my best to not just stare at my feet as I move through the weeks, but still the final year of my college experience is over. I actually spent a lot of time trying to memorize the constellations in the sky, looking for Orion, the big dipper, Leo and the like. Still, it meant that I did not spend as much time as I should have staring the every moment in the face and memorizing it in detail.

While I would like to thank the academy for whatever the heck they do, I look back on what this time has been in my senior year, and even the journey of undergraduate degree in its entirety. The one summation of my time is that none of it was what I planned.

There were so many dreams I dreamed before ever arriving at college, but few of them found their place in the real world. Instead, wonderfully unique people and experiences danced their way into my life, and those were so much better in reality.

When I began university, I wanted to write books. I still do, but nothing other than books was my goal. I had to figure out everything else that would encompass my career and my profession. It was like a strange puzzle I had never bothered to finish, but the circumstances that found me in college seemed to finish the puzzle for me.

Somewhere along the way, the idea of magazines came into my mind. I had spent years cutting them up in mixed media art projects. I had never considered making the actual product, but the next thing I knew creative journalism was all I could think about. A new goal was realized.

And eventually, I found my way to this paper. This most wonderful little paper that I had never really been dedicated to, which is such a shame really. It was one of those things that I kept meaning to look more into, but never did as the days progressed in each semester.

I could wonder how my life would have been different if I had sent an email or stopped by the paper’s office in my first year here, but I also learned in college that looking back on hypotheticals is a bit pointless. College is a myriad of hypotheticals anyway, or rather better described as a choose-your-own-adventure novel made real.

Adventures of all sizes, The Carolinian was certainly a grander one in its own right, and not just for it being the reason I scored my internship and ticket into the new chapter of my life. The people I have met and the experiences I have shared allowed me to grow in my understanding and empathy of others narrative and ideas.

That is the true beauty of the Opinions section. I could ask someone a question knowing how I would reply, and get an 800 word response that was not what I intended. It would be thoughtful and important nonetheless.

I wish I could stay on a little longer, write one last piece beyond this. I still have ideas! I still have thoughts on things and the happenings of the world around us! However, it is not my time anymore. It’s time for another to take the place I held for this fleeting moment, and I will move onto new horizons. My only hope is that the one goal I had in my interview (which felt like ages ago) was realized.

If I did my job correctly, then I got someone to think. I got someone to pause and reconsider. I gave a valuable piece of information to another. I allowed someone to feel validated in any given way as they felt their voice was no longer alone.

It was something I hopefully accomplished, but never could have done alone. I am no one-woman show, and I never will be. Instead, I made this whole endeavor work through the help of my motley crew of writers, my friends and family who bothered to read it and my fellow editors who made me want to be better. Screw the academy, I am thanking all of you from the bottom of my heart.

So as this spring transforms into summer, I will say goodbye with my eyes finally forward, trying not to trip on the stairs at my graduation. For the first time in my entire life, summer will not be a break and fall will not smell of school supplies and lost freedoms. I will look to Orion like I have loved to in the darkest nights of this chapter of my life, finding his belt and then the rest of him and will remember the time I figured out how to find him like how I quasi-figured out how to make college work.

This piece was not what I intended to be, but that is more fitting than anything else I could have crafted at this point. My swan song should be as improvisational as I have become because intentions have become pointless, but the love and happiness I found in lieu of carefully designed plans was nothing short of vital, magical and forever a part of me.

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