The Collegian
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Final reflections: Who peed in your corn flakes?

In the last edition of The Collegian, opinion editor Liz Monahan asked: "What do we really learn in college?"

I'd like to respond to her question with the question: "Hey Liz, who peed in your corn flakes?"

What a dumb question. And I'm not talking about the corn flakes. Everybody knows that in college we learn to sustain a collaborative learning and research community that supports the personal development of its members and the creation of new knowledge. You wanna know how I know? It says so, right in the school's mission statement.

Our liberal arts education teaches us critical thinking through all those texts we read like, you know, Marx's "Carnitas Manifesto" -- er, no, that's not it. ... Was it "Communist Monte Carlo?" Whatever. I think admissions said I'd graduate from here with an understanding of the highest pedagoggles, or something.

Many of us reach one of those wtf/fml moments at some point in our academic careers. Who knows, you might be sitting in your 300-level finance class today and realize that you'd rather cheesegrate your face off than listen to another minute about high hurdle rates and intermediaries' financial capital. Or maybe it'll hit you when you're wearing Alvin's monogrammed Greyhound jacket as you're sitting on the curb in downtown Richmond after waking up in the bathroom stall of a charter bus after a night out.

It hit me last year around this time -- about one year and two weeks ago, to be exact -- when I wasn't sure if I'd be returning to Richmond. After my mom died during our last spring break, I couldn't see myself getting through the rest of the semester, knowing each day would be a little bit worse because I would be missing her a little more. But I decided to go back because I thought being somewhere where no one knew what had happened would be easier than the alternative. Plus there were lodges to be had, where I could grind up on myself like nobody except Liz Monahan was watching.

For the remaining two months of school, I showered once. I did my laundry one fewer times than I showered. I went an entire week without eating anything except 19-layer coconut cream cake so I wouldn't have to leave our forced triple in North Court where two of my best friends and I lived.

Fortunately, my strange behavior pales in comparison to the group of girls I associate myself with at this school. Because of their support, I started caring again and even gradually began practicing hygiene and engaging with the rest of society again. And, because of their inherently embarassing existences, I started laughing again when one would suffer a blow to the head from a stripper pole, or another would tweet, "Question of the minute: How to extract thong from leggings?" (Oh wait, that was Lexie both times).

I got through the rest of my classes because of a few truly special faculty members who became more like mentors.

Because of these professors' encouragement, I've been crawling out of The Collegian's office window like a Chilean miner every Wednesday night since I returned from spring break last year (so you can send all complaints to them). And even though I have to suffer from the oppressive rule of Liz Monahan, I'm so proud to have been a part of this community.

For all of you with some time left at Richmond: Your time will come. I swear it was just two weeks ago that I was 18 and went to Tiki Bob's for the first time, and then swore off Tiki Bob's for the rest of college, and then returned again the next weekend.

Soon enough, you'll be a washed-up senior, trying to hold on to your youth by making out with a freshman. Or perhaps you'll find yourself weeping any time you hear Green Day's "I Hope You Had The Time of Your Life," as if you were Morehead State's coach's daughter on the bench last Saturday.

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At some point before you graduate, I hope you get a little scared, maybe even poo your pants a little, and reevaluate your four years at Richmond. Without doubting yourself, you'll never realize what you could be missing.

And without losing, you'll never realize what you already have.

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