NIU career looks better in hindsight

If you were one of the unfortunate few to read this column last year, you may be under the impression that I was supposed to graduate and never bother you again. If, on the other hand, you are reading for the first time, you don’t know anything about the matter and you certainly don’t care. Actually, I’ll bet nobody really cares, but that’s a whole philosophical issue I won’t discuss right now.

In any case, I did attend last May’s graduation ceremony and I did receive a diploma cover. However, due to circumstances way beyond my control, I find myself still a student which allows me the opportunity to fill space (or waste space, if you’re a pessimist) with random thoughts. Today, I write about such a thought …

Sitting in a comfortable metal folding chair, wearing nothing but a black cap and gown, I couldn’t help but have a few regrets as I courageously waited for some dean or other to stop talking. Mostly, I regretted not studying harder and having a higher GPA.

The source of these regrets was my envy of the one student sitting on stage during the ceremony. You see, at graduation a student gets to give a speech to thousands of people, most who would much rather be doing something else, like having their teeth pulled. I wanted to be the speaker! Unfortunately, the speaker is someone who best represents what the average student is not—namely, intelligent and motivated.

So, there I sat with the rest of the future unemployed, listening to my own speech. Here’s what I would’ve said:

“Congratulations, graduates. You did a good job avoiding all the obstacles to get here—the construction barriers, the parking division and what not.

“Quite frankly, I’m surprised I made it. My first year here was pretty negative. I didn’t care what the administrators or Eddie Williams said, I thought NIU was a lousy school. But then two things happened which changed my attitude and ready to depart, I received a shirt which was an inspiration. On it was a picture of Victor E. Huskie and the words ‘Do It Doggie Style.’ I still wear that shirt.

“The second thing happened sometime during my junior year. One of my teachers was actually a professor. That semester I started learning the truth about higher education.

“I realized that the worth of a school doesn’t depend on the athletic department, or the greek system, or the administration’s idea of art. Those things are secondary. A good university is built around the men and women who teach. At a good university, teachers and students come together to learn from each other.

“Is NIU a good school? I don’t know, but I had some really good professors. I’d like to thank them for all they taught me about my subject and myself. I suppose if every department is as good as the English department, NIU is excellent.

“Thank you and remember to ‘Do It Doggie Style.'”