People naturally like giving advice at the end of their career to bestow onto younger generations. It seems only fitting that I end my undergraduate career and participation in The Flip Side in this last issue the same way.
The best advice I have after four years here is this: Put more energy into the people and things in your life than any form of media. Look up from that phone of yours. Show nothing but kindness to everyone you meet, even if they suck. And pursue things that truly make you happy doing instead of doing what just makes you more money (It’s nice when they coincide though).
When I was in Florence (If you can study abroad, do it), I toured a vineyard which belonged to one of the happiest people I have seen in my life. He used to be an investment manager somewhere in Italy, where he made tons of money that he bought fancy cars with and threw around like candy. And he gave it all up because it didn’t make him truly happy—like running a vineyard did. He undoubtedly made good money making award winning wine, but what value can be placed on the passion he had doing something he loved and was good at? I’d bet the happiness brought by that will buy more life than the huge sums he made ever could. Live your life like that. If you make some good wine, send that to me too.
Being at UWEC and in the city of Eau Claire has been the greatest and most important experience of my life so far. It has some of the finest people I have ever met—students, community members, and faculty– friends that I will have for a lifetime. I did great things with the College Democrats and Future Lawyers. I found the girl I love. I had an absolutely incredible education that helped make me the person that I am today.
I will always have a special place for The Flip Side. I’ve probably written around fifty articles of all kinds for this paper, dozens of pieces of poems, riddles, and photography not included. Most of it was political. I’m not naïve in thinking that everything I ever write is worthy of reading and adoration, nor do I want that to be the case. But writing for this paper helped developed my skills as a writer, put into solid print the things I stand for, and insured a permanent place for my voice. If a single person enjoys any of the things I’ve ever written, then I am genuinely satisfied, and grateful that I could take part in such an organization.
The Flip Side lives as a medium that takes all submissions because of the unique community that Eau Claire is. If the Flip Side were a paper that served the larger communities of somewhere like Madison or Milwaukee, There would likely be much larger submission numbers, meaning steeper printing costs to the point where I don’t see how we could function, especially since this hard working staff works for free. It has been my pleasure to serve with the people on this staff for the noble effort of guaranteeing everyone in this community a spot in the conversation. Even though we gladly take submissions from community members and alumni, this will be my last article published in these pages. I leave the task to the present and future students of this University to define themselves and be heard like I was. The history of The Flip Side is a rare and glorious display of free speech. I hope to see it serving this community as long as I call myself an alum.
It’s tempting to feel the desire for an experience like college in a fine place like this to last as long as possible. But what makes this experience so amazing is that it has a deadline. By necessity you have to move on and make the most of the time you have as a student. When you are here, go to jazz concerts and open mic events. Grab a pitcher at the Joynt with friends on a weeknight. Run on the Chippewa River trail to take in the underappreciated beauty your campus sits on. Do things that you find enjoyable and worthy of your time, and not for the acceptance of anyone else. Use your education here to better yourself as an individual rather than just more employable. Contribute to make this a better place than when you found it in any way you see fit.
Thank you UWEC and Eau Claire, and thank you everyone who has become an invaluable part of my memories and life. Au Revoir for now.