The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Straight out of Compton (final volume)

You probably noticed the hordes of alums walking around campus last weekend, children in tow or reuniting with their old cohorts. Maybe you felt annoyed (they graduated from Richmond, you'd think they'd know how to work the toaster in D-Hall), maybe you noticed all that picturesque family bonding around the lake or maybe you were just jealous of the party that was raging in the tent in the Forum last Saturday -- I'm just wondering what era-specific music they're going to play at my reunion. "Disturbia"?

At any rate, these visitors who used to go here certainly emphasize the fact that every year, things change. One class leaves, a new one comes in.

And whoa, next year I won't be a freshman! (Maybe by then I'll learn how to do investigative research for my opinions columns...) Freshmen girls are often told that this year will be the best. Well great, I guess my golden year is coming to an end.

Wait, really? That doesn't seem right. I thought upperclassmen led the good life? I mean, once you're an upperclassman, you undergo a transformation and immediately possess superior wisdom, understanding and knowledge as to where all those secret fireplaces are hiding on campus.

Only then do you take your classes seriously, because freshmen obviously still think they're in high school. And finally, in that most important transition to an upperclassman, you develop deep and meaningful opinions. About everything. Ew, maybe I do want to stay a freshman forever.

Now, I don't want to generalize, because I know and love plenty of seniors who don't act like every word that comes out of their mouth is the end-all be-all nugget of insight, and I guess some freshmen do lead lives of questionable academic merit. But I have to say, I believe the time has come to address those readers of The Collegian who question the value of a light-hearted opinion column offering everyday observations about campus.

Two questions: Is it necessary to take life so seriously? I just can't believe that there are people who spend every second of their lives reflecting on the issues, dramas and traumas of the world. Maybe this isn't true, and the problem is that my opinion column, lacking a call for change (thanks Barack, for creating that cliche in American politics) is a waste of space in a college publication, a would-be "forum for discussion." But (question number two) who decided what kinds of discussions are worthy, and which are unworthy?

Watch "The Today Show" sometime. My guess is viewers enjoy the show more when Matt Lauer has an awkward interview with Tom Cruise or when Al Roker forgets his microphone is on, rather than when the news is portrayed without a flaw. I'm not dissing the news, but a little flair now and then can bring more attention to the reporting.

And besides, I bet those alums on campus last weekend weren't recalling the time professor so-and-so made a politically incorrect slur or a new club was created to (wait for it) work toward change. They were reminiscing on their good times at Richmond, from pre-games to post-grad.

That being said, as much as I'd love to continue writing this column and reflecting on the importance of the littler things on campus and in life, with the switch to a new staff this week, I'm moving to the features section.

To those who actually enjoyed the weekly dose of Compton, you can see my work on those pages. Please keep reading and reacting (tactfully) to all of the stories in The Collegian!

Contact columnist Susie Compton at

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