Don’t force memories, enjoy final moments on campus

Shelby Niehaus, Columnist

Sometimes I think about when my last day visiting The Daily Eastern News newsroom will be.

Will it be twenty years in the future, visiting during an alumni event? Or will I find my way back even later than that? Could it even be soon, a day this week, stepping in to look around at the empty chairs, saying a final goodbye to a silent room where I spent so many nights?

When I worked nights on the copy desk, we said bittersweet goodbyes to our graduating seniors just after the final pages had been completed for the semester. We walked each other back to our dorm rooms, sharing the last jokes and reveling in the feeling of freedom from 11 p.m. deadlines.

We signed off on memory walls and objects and preserved whiteboards, names to pass into obscurity, to fade with the sunlight and with every brush of tomorrow’s newsers, as if writing our names on something could make our presences stay for a minute longer.

I think more people get misty-eyed about departures than want to admit it.

Occasionally, near the end of a semester, I will see a graduating student standing in a stairwell in Coleman Hall, looking down at the exit doors or watching the bell tower from the library courtyard, lost in thought.

When we know our lives are going to change, it is very tempting to step out of reality for a moment and watch the familiar keep moving without us.

But those little moments when we enjoy the transient moments that make up our formative years: those little moments are so often silences while walking with friends, breaks in classes, late nights in your dorm’s shared kitchenette.

They happen organically, without warning, and they never can be counted on. So it is only natural that, sometimes, when we fear those memorable times will be done for good, we try to steal them from time.

Enjoy your last moments, if this is your final week, and trust that you will fondly remember the small and the large memories. Do not worry away the week with forced tender moments.

Instead, spend your time with friends, and get a last helping of the things you loved about Eastern.

Go bowling one last time. Take a break to wander aimlessly through the small gaps between academic buildings. Get lost in the library, looking through stacks of intensely specific books.

Do not worry about making memories; find the memories in the things you always did.

I am sure my last fond memories of campus will be bittersweet moments that seem much like what I did for my entire career.

They will be empty spaces between classes in the newsroom, quiet moments in the English student lounge, shivering walks across campus with groups of friends cackling in the distance.

I will remember my time at Eastern as it really was.

For those of you who will stay, have a restful break.

To the others, I will see you on Saturday, just before we part ways.

Shelby Niehaus is a senior English education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].