So Long, Farewell, Etc…

John-Paul Heil, Forum Editor

The end of the semester, as you may have surmised, is upon us. While many are unconditionally happy that this semester is coming to a close, I must admit that for me personally (listen, this is the Forum section — of course we’re going to be talking about me and my opinions; I promise this column won’t be entirely egotistical), the semester ending is bittersweet. It’s sweet because finally we won’t have the endless piles of homework and papers to do, but also because very soon I will be welcoming a new sibling into the world, and for those reasons, I could not be more overjoyed that the semester is ending.


However, it is also bitter. As you may or may not know, I will be studying abroad next semester in Florence, Italy, meaning that I will not be returning to the Mount for several months. While I know this is a crushing blow to my ever-growing audience (which, as I’ve been able to gather, consists of Dr. Blackshaw, Dr. Hinds, Fr. Jim, an anonymous Internet commenter who really doesn’t like my articles, and my mother) and I’m sure you feel so much pity for me for being subjected to the tortuous and hellacious climates of that inferno on Earth, Italy, the truth is that I will most definitely miss my mountain home. And I’ll miss all of you. So instead of making a grandiose philosophical argument or inciting the proverbial villagers to riot against “the man,” I’d like to use this article, which is most certainly going to be my final column (at least for a while) and my final stint as forum editor, to reflect a little bit on my time at the Mount (all right, I lied about the egotistical thing).


When I was getting ready to go to the Mount, I was unsure about the direction in which my life was going. Having been home schooled for the entirety of my life (if you know me at all, you’ve probably heard my spiel: blah-blah-blah, started reading at 2, blah-blah-blah, came to college at 16, yada-yada-yada), I honestly doubted that I would ever make friends or that anyone would ever really care about me. I didn’t think that I could handle the level of difficulty that college seemed to promise, and I didn’t believe that I was cut out for school. I wrote a panicked email to my freshman seminar advisor (more on her later) and detailed my concerns.


Eventually, I came to the Mount and boy, was I wrong. The people here welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I was part of a second family. That’s the thing that has surprised me the most about this university: how much people care for each other. I don’t mean just skin-deep care either, I mean full-on-they’ll-lay-down-their-life-for-you total compassion and care. I think that’s what I’m going to miss most while I’m gone: being part of that family. So, to the university administration and to all the students of this university, I want to thank you for welcoming me into your lives.


However, I would be heavily amiss if I did not recognize at least a few (I’m a forgetful old codger now, so I’ll probably miss some people who’ve helped me a lot and for that I apologize. You can punch me in the arm the next time you see me) who have particularly helped me along the way. Thank you to Dr. Elani Tsoukatos, my freshman advisor and friend, for the invaluable support that you have given me. Thanks to the entire Philosophy Department for thinking that I’m intelligent human being who knows what he’s doing (spoiler alert: I’m not), and especially to Dr. Michael Miller, for putting up with me as an advisee. Thanks to the History Department, especially Dr. Greg Murry, who convinced me that yes, I could be a triple-major. Thanks to Dr. Marco Roman for encouraging me to become an Italian major. Much gratitude is due to Dr. Eick, Dr. Naberhaus, Dr. Blackshaw, Dr. Jordan, the Drs. Hochschild, Dr. Hinds, Dr. Goliber, Dr. Glover, the Drs. Schwenkler and the countless other professors who’ve had to deal with me over the years. I owe a large debt to the staff of Tolle Lege, the Student Government Association, the George Henry Miles Honors Society, the Philosophical Society, the Campus Ministry Advisory Board, and all the other organizations that I’ve the pleasure of being involved with on-campus, but especially the staff of The Mountain Echo, who made the huge mistake of giving me a soapbox upon which to stand and babble aimlessly.


I’d also like to thank the following individuals for putting up with me and being my friends despite my valiant attempts to the contrary: Monica, Fr. Matthew, Jacob, Matthias, Rachel, Corsos, Maria, Christian, Sarah, Margaret, Carolyn, Caroline, Olivia, Anne, and all the other people I’ve annoyed over the years who I can’t fit into this hugely compressed list. However, especially particular thanks are due to Matthew and Jessica (for the record: still called it), Brian and Kyle (may the pun battles stay strong), and Allison and David (thanks for putting up with me despite the whole Thavidianism thing): I have the privilege of calling you my best friends. You’ve changed my life in ways I can never fully thank you for.

Anyway, I guess that’s a wrap. Not really sure how to end this, so I think I’ll pull the worst faux pas an essay can and finish all this on a quote from a much wiser man than me: “One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”

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