Burning the last bridges

Dieter Huneryager

The most boring variety of outgoing senior is the hard-working successful one. These are the friends one never saw socially this year until they found out they got into graduate school or received honors, at which point they go hog-wild at the VR because they know they have a future.
As one who excelled in mediocrity throughout the majority of his Lawrence career, I can’t tolerate such people. Even when they buy a couple of celebratory pitchers to share with everyone else, I inebriate myself with their well-deserved drinks resentfully, as I know they’ll continue their hitherto blandness once they enroll in their respective masters programs.
In contrast, I can’t get enough of people who fail at what they strive for. I know a senior philosophy major who, at the beginning of the year, was planning to graduate with honors in June. For months he would put in sporadic all-nighters, determined to let his intellect outweigh his inherent laziness so that he could have something to boast about when he graduated. He gave up on this project a couple of weeks ago when he decided the work he had done was not sufficient for him to be able to finish before graduation.
This was hilariously disappointing in and of itself, but his misfortune reached a pinnacle of schadenfreude-worthy failure when he found out that due to the Lawrence registrar being a nightmare of bureaucratic red tape and fees, there’s a good chance that the credits he earned while studying abroad won’t be transferred and thus the $170,000 his parents coughed up for him to earn his bachelor’s will be for naught.
His senior year was such a disappointment, in fact, that a friend of his filmed an honors project centered on how much his life is going to suck after college. No, seriously. It’s called “The End of the World” and it’s being shown in the Wriston auditorium tonight at 6 p.m.
No one has ever based an honors project film around someone successful. That would be tediously dull. Contrast that awesome failure with the most successful graduating philosophy major, Andy Specht, who has literally only skipped one class since freshman year, received $1,500 for something honors-related and is attending graduate school this fall with a full scholarship.
He’s fun when he’s being sociable, but behind his affable personality is a college career no one would ever want to base an honors project around or read about. All of his successes were earned, but his senior year up until this term has consisted of wasting his life in the library and with his equally boringly successful girlfriend.
Too often, The Lawrentian and the Lawrence Web site laud those who have achieved high levels of success. Haven’t these people been gratified enough without their smug faces becoming omnipresent in every form of media published by the university?
If a person forgot to unregister himself from a class, received an “F” for it, then wasn’t able to remove it because the Lawrence registrar is not governed by the laws of reason, wouldn’t it be neat if he were consoled by being featured at www.Lawrence.edu under the headline “Hard-Working Student Screwed Over By Flawed System, But He’s Still Someone Any Company Would Want To Hire”? Successful students don’t need any more of a boost, so why not give the less lucky ones a leg up?
Since this is my last column, I would like to implore next year’s editors to move away from merely writing about success. I didn’t see “The Skin of Our Teeth”, but from what I’ve heard, last week’s article claiming it to be “funny” and other articles like it put this publication’s journalistic integrity in question. If something being shown is not funny, then say so. If a misogynist fraternity calls itself a feminist organization, then feel free to call it out on its BS.
The Lawrentian was never an entirely good or readable publication, but whatever teeth it had seemed particularly absent this year. I implore my editor to hire more curmudgeons next year. Otherwise, this paper will end up focusing entirely on success, which would ultimately make it a failure, and paradoxically a boring one at that.