Just about every Thursday night-and often way into Friday morning-for the past three semesters I have been at my desk on the third floor of the RUC laying out the front page and news pages of The Oracle.I like my desk, and I’m going to miss it.
It’s no big-hunk-of-tree Andy Rooney desk, but it’s almost as busy as Rooney’s.
My desk is an off-white, metal desk with a hutch and gray partition.
Picture “Office Space.”
Proudly displayed on top of the hutch I have a picture of my brother Wesley and me from a spring break trip that took us to the top of Mt. Rogers, Va.
Drop down below to my working space, and there is a steel sculpture of a ballet dancer I welded a couple years ago that I hang a clamp-on light to create a desk lamp. I think it’s cool.
Above my computer there’s a wooden bowl my brother turned on a lathe and gave to me. It holds loose change and a tennis ball I throw at the wall when I’m in a creative rut.
Then there’s a Post-It note from my grandmother, Mommie Mills.
It sits upright in one of those paperclip-type picture holders.
It reads in her cursive handwriting: To help feed you as you journey along in your search for enlightenment. Love you, Mommie Mills.
It had been attached to some money she had sent in a letter at the beginning of the semester when I first started manning The Oracle.
I read it when the Red Bull isn’t enough boost or when I’m having a bad day. I’m sitting here right now at 2:04 a.m. reading it. It’s a piece of paper, but it’s special to me just like a lot of the things that have accumulated on my desk.
But there is something more important to me than all of this stuff. It’s that less tangible stuff called “memories” that everyone goes on about at the end of something like school or a career.
My memories of Tech are many, and my memories are now a zooming ride through my mind starting from year one…
Placed 51st in the Ohio Valley Conference my last college cross country race frosh year–pledged Fiji for a week or so freshman year and caused a diagonal-mailbox-quitters’ trend–rolled a dirty and leafy snowman onto the corner of Dixie and 12th one winter night–belted Mozart’s “Requiem” and other songs with Tech Chorale for four years–walked with friends on the railroad tracks from Crawdaddy’s to Spankies when I should have been studying–stopped by the Counseling Center for someone to listen–operated the soundboard many times for Tech Players and acted on stage a few less–lived two years on the Dirty Byrne–made a profile on CollegeFacebook.com, then deleted it and made one for Facebook.com when Tech was added to the list.
–coached Kappa Delta’s intramural basketball team once-sprained my ankle my last semester playing intramural basketball and crutched my way all over campus for a month–covered the TBR protest at the state capitol and crutched my way up stairs upon stairs to get a good picture for the paper.
–lost all motivation then gained it back-lost it again-got it back again–failed–succeeded–learned–yearned-loved–broke up–worried–studied–exhausted myself–cried-and tried and tried and tried.
Everything a blur. A zooming, whirling blur.
And mixed into that blur are the wonderful people I have met while at Tech.
So many spectacular people. So many that I cannot count.
You all know who you are, and you should know that I greatly appreciate our time together no matter how brief.
You have all been a part of my zooming, whirling accumulation of desktop matter and synaptic leaps of my days here on campus.
I thank you.
You see, without all of this cluttered memory and people, my diploma would mean nothing to me.
That said, I hope and wish that every student takes more than a mere degree from this place.
I hope students fill their desks of college life full of Post-It notes of enlightenment and clutter of fulfillment.
Thank you, TTU, for reading my goodbye that was as cluttered as my desk.
Now, I must find a box and take my things to a new place.