COLUMN: What a long, strange trip it has been

Rob Le Cates

Will Padgett is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 581-2912 [email protected].

Will Padgett, Columnist

Well, dear readers, here we are at the end of yet another semester. It has been a turbulent one, not unlike the last few years themselves. You may be shocked (or not, I am not a mind-reader you know) to hear that this will be my last column for The News.

Trust me, I do not know what you are going to do without me either, but graduation looms on the summer horizon and soon I will be off to smaller and worse things.

I think that I would like to use this column as a time to reflect on the last academic year spent writing mostly unhinged, rarely lucid columns.

I am not writing about The News’s “Person of the Year” or whatever, but since it is not me I feel like I can get away with just writing about anything else.

I never really thought that I would be able to engage in this wacky persona I have crafted for myself over the course of my writings in The News and, honestly, it was never my intention in the first place.

I really and truly started off wanting to write serious and thought-provoking columns that highlighted the issues I thought were important. The spaghetti column was, more than anything, a proof of concept idea rather than how I actually wanted to write.

If I am being frank, I did not think that the first column would be published AT ALL. I thought that Ellen would merely laugh it off and ask me for my REAL article (which I did not have, obviously).

I have definitely enjoyed an unprecedented level of freedom in the various topics and ways I could write my columns, though they could not publish the one where I wrote like an illiterate hillbilly which I feel you all would have enjoyed.

I am sad, in a way, to be done with my columns. While I cannot say that I was ALWAYS thrilled to write them (it is work-adjacent after all), I did find writing them to be cathartic and helpful for letting myself decompress.

Writing wacky, stupid things, especially the first one, is an incredibly scary thing and I would not blame anyone for being hesitant to do one.

However, I hope that someone takes it upon themselves to completely ruin the otherwise wholly-serious paper every now and then and make the students realize that life need not always be police reports and local fires.

In a world full of Fox News and CNN, sometimes you need a little bit of The Onion to balance out the terminal case of existential dread that seems to always encompass our generation.

It has been a great ride, you wacky kids. I hope that you all pass your finals and go on to eat lots of lasagna and any candy that is not Kit-Kats.

Remember to keep on truckin’.

Will Padgett is an English graduate student. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.