Goodbye, Claremont.

Last year I asked a graduating friend to write a "goodbye" post before graduation. He agreed that he had a lot to share, advice to impart, and memories to reflect upon -- but he couldn't bear to think about it for long enough to write an article.  Now I'm struggling too. I hope these were not the "best" four years of our lives, but they may have been the most fun. You have to believe life gets better, but nothing will beat free Snack at 10:30 PM every school night. I'll never forget the first time I went to snack. Prospie Josh thought he had floated himself into heaven. And it wasn't even mozzarella sticks night. This was back when the fro-yo machine was always on and Gavin ruled the World Wok. I'll miss Collins.

It's one thing to say you will "miss" college and another to wake up Sunday morning after graduation, have to move out of your apartment, and start picking health insurance. I don't remember high school graduation being this bittersweet, but that's probably because I knew life would get much, much better in college. For many of us, the future is completely unpredictable.

I had a lot of ideas about what to write for a "Goodbye from the Class of 2010" post. It's my last written assignment for college, so there is a lot of pressure to not disgrace myself or give the anonymous commenters any reason to go on some crazy tangent. Speaking of which, someone should write a thesis about CMCForum.com's anonymous-optional comment section. "Thesis ideas are everywhere." Tangential advice: Don't let anyone tell you your thesis is "more than just a paper." It is just another paper.

I was going to work with friends to release a music video, That's So North Quad, to chronicle the end of the college era. At least that's what I tell people it would have been about. But our expectations were too high. We had a great script, but we didn't write it down. No evidence. It would have been to the tune of a Broken Bells song remix. Or this song.

I was going to plan a senior prank, but the prospect of going to white collar prison scared me. I don't believe they actually let you wear (and they definitely don't let you pop) white collars in those places.

I was going to write a number of Forum posts (see list below) and I was going to compile "The Class of 2010's Guide to CMC." It would have come with a free CD-ROM version of That's So North Quad.

I really wanted to make sure I passed down all the knowledge and information I had for the Class of 2014, but there's only so much you can put into words. Too bad I gave up on CMCPedia.com. Maybe someone can get that going again?

I was going to write something like David Nahmias' (CMC '10) goodbye letter but took issue with the suggestion that I should pick up my own toys. Why don't we just attach a claw to the gigantic Kravis Center crane and use that to solve the problem? Yeah, that would probably solve the toy litter problem, David.

On a more serious note, I'm a little concerned about how things at CMC are going to change in the future. For one thing, CMC is going to get a lot, lot richer. With money comes responsibility. Responsibility is a downer. As I wrote that sentence, a man walking with a baby in a stroller passed by our senior week beach house in Mission Beach. As he glanced at us, he noticed girls in bikinis, a keg, loud music, and people having a great time on our front porch. He did not look happy to have "responsibilities."

Not sure what the future will bring, but John Faranda will keep us updated. And the Siegel Swimming Pool (where Phillips Hall currently sits) will come with a large trampoline.

I was going to write a goodbye article about graduating, life, etc. I had some thoughts about Claremont Confessions, CMC's Dean of Students' office, the RA system, and a multi-paragraph rant about the Admissions Office. But it doesn't matter anymore. We're finished with college. Time to move on.

We'll miss you, CMC.

At the risk of breaking up the rhythm of this shoddily-written, nonsensical, unstructured goodbye post, I'll divide the rest of this post into "Top Five Regrets" and "What I've Learned."

Top Five Regrets

1. Not Coming to CMC Until Sophomore Year

Although my situation was unique, I feel bad for anyone who misses freshman year at CMC. Transferring to CMC as a sophomore (or worse, junior) puts you at an immeasurable disadvantage to the rest of the school.

2. Not Partying More

I went to Slippery When Wet at Mudd for the first time this semester. I went to my first Pitzer party a few weeks ago. I have never played Tuesday Night Beirut. I guess I fooled myself into thinking partying more would hurt my academic career at CMC. It's just not true -- nobody looks back at CMC and regrets not studying more.

3. Not Creating More Stuff

I started a website called Claremont Confessions last year. The name wasn't my idea, but I take responsibility for the damage that ensued. I won't go into details here, but you can see the Facebook group someone started in protest here and read a bit more about it here and here. What I regret is shutting down the site instead of using it as a springboard to launch a site that actually did something to bring the 5Cs together for more than gossip.

Another example is this website (cmcforum.com). I revived the site from its print deathbed my sophomore year, but didn't act on or complete a lot of ideas for additional features for various reasons (couldn't figure out how to implement it, would have taken up too much time, etc.). It was also impossible finding anyone willing to help. Thankfully, The Forum has gotten to the point where finding competent people to help, write, and run the site isn't a major problem. I hope the site gets stronger, but as we've seen in the past and with any organization, one year of bad leadership could ruin it all. It might be a good idea to put some institutional controls in place for the future.

4. Drafts

Over the past couple years I've started drafts of articles I never published on this site. I regret not finishing more. Some were just a few sentences, most were longer. Here are some of my favorite unfinished drafts:

  • "Top 10 CMC Moments in the Past Four Years"
  • "What I’ve Learned About CMC’s “Problems”
  • "Things I Thought I Was Promised When I Came to CMC"
  • "Honnold Mudd in 2020"
  • "Things I Didn’t Know About CMC"
  • "Rants from a Nostalgic Senior, Part I"
  • "How to Be a Good Professor at CMC"
  • "Stop Whining, CMC"
  • "Student Health Services Is Unhealthy"
  • "The Case for the Block Plan at CMC"
  • "You know it was a long night when…"
  • "Computer Science Should Be Mandatory"
  • "RDS Advertises on Facebook? Seriously?"
  • "Ferris Wheel in North Quad"

5. Not Figuring Out What I'm Interested In

I am an economics major. I'm not interested in academia. I have a job next year in which the major appeal is having no specific focus or industry. I have interests, but I don't have a calling yet.

What I've Learned

A few random thoughts:

  • I agree with Patrick -- leisure time in college is too valuable to spend too much of it studying. If you are at the very top of your class, I think you are doing something wrong. Or a Lit major. (That was a joke, Lit majors.)
  • It's strange that only a small number of students are allowed to e-mail the entire student body and are given no guidelines about what is or is not acceptable use.
  • John Faranda and much of the Development Office are very good at their job; the Public Affairs office is not. Why don't we have any CMC alumni working in the Public Affairs office? I bet their incentive would far exceed their salary.
  • If you stop worrying about putting any information about yourself, your thoughts, etc. on the internet and start making sure that what you're putting on the internet isn't really stupid, you'll be fine.
  • As we've seen in the past few years, the print media is an industry prone to consolidation. As a microcosm, the Port Side, The Forum, and Claremont Independent struggle because our campus is too small to support three major newspapers.
  • An unintentional offspring of CMC moving to Google for e-mail has been the widespread popularity of communicating through GChat. It could be improved.
  • Our education system is incredibly inefficient. We spent 22 years learning what we could learn in far fewer.