Brock signs off: Lessons from TU

This is the seventh year I’ve worked on a student-run publication—and the last. I’ve done a lot of different things while I’ve been at Transylvania, but a core part of my life here has been dedicated to The Rambler. It will be hard to say goodbye to the life of a student journalist, but it will be somewhat of a relief to no longer have such responsibility on my plate all day, every day (Good luck, Jake!). So for the last column you all have to endure, I thought I’d share some of my kitschy wisdom with you.

Transy taught me who I am, and what I want in life. Have I sometimes felt like graduation couldn’t come fast enough? Yes, often. The past four years have put me through some incredibly awful times, but they have held some of the most amazing experiences, as well as provided me with an incredible support system of friends and mentors. Transy taught me how to deal with the highs and the lows in life by giving me the tools to cope with the bad, to appreciate the good and to have confidence in myself and my abilities. I know that the future holds both good and bad, and I’m OK with that—because Transy taught me that I am capable of battling whatever comes my way.

Good journalism isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would love The Rambler—and clearly, that hasn’t been the case during my time here. After spending hours every week helping to put together this publication, or scrambling to post a breaking story online, someone always has to spot a blemish. Sometimes, it really gets me down, but critics have just as much of a right to have their voices heard as we have a right to put our opinions on this page. Still, it would be nice if complaints were housed in logic and thought instead of half-cocked critiques, as is all too often the case. We put together this paper for this campus, and as long as we do the best we can with the  oh-so-limited resources of one journalism class, a quarter-credit practicum, and a part-time adviser, we’ve succeeded—30 statewide awards this year alone prove that. Hard work and doing the right thing do pay off; thank you, Terri McLean, for teaching me this important lesson.

A liberal arts education is attractive for many reasons, with which we are all familiar. Before I came to Transy, I was led to believe that such an education would leave me better prepared for a job in the “real world”—but that’s not always the case. It seems that experience is what companies want, and so an education that leaves you well-rounded is great, but just not enough. While we are led to believe that coming to a college like Transy (and paying nearly $30,000 in tuition alone) will put us miles ahead of the competition, we need to realize that the burden of securing internships and jobs in our desired fields falls on us; we can’t ride on the coattails of a Transy diploma in this day and age.

“It will look good on your resume” isn’t a sound enough reason to commit yourself to doing something. Transy students are notoriously over-involved, either because we feel like if we don’t do it, no one else will, or we want to pad our resumes, or we genuinely care about a couple of the causes we involve ourselves with. I’ve learned that committing time to a cause is only worth it if you will really enjoy it, because if you enjoy something, it shows, and you can utilize all sorts of skills with one organization rather than joining 20.

You can only eat so many chicken fingers from the Raf until you start to suffer from malnutrition. We all know that Transy cuisine isn’t the most exciting food we’ll ever eat, but it has gotten a lot better in the four years I’ve been here—with the exception of the nixing of the 1780’s cheese bread, which I still miss. I’ve often wished that we could use our Crimson Cards at restaurants around town like UK students can. But, then again, going to McDonald’s wouldn’t be the same as visiting Eugene in the Raf or talking to Rosie, Cortez and Vic in the 80.

Sometimes, authority figures don’t utilize their positions or behave in ways you agree with, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Throughout life, we will have to work with, befriend or even tolerate people of every temperament, background, mindset, etc. It’s a fact that you won’t agree with everyone and they won’t agree with you, and this is especially true for people who are socially or organizationally above you. It’s been said that you can do what’s right all the time, or you can be successful. It’s a hard choice, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Procrastination isn’t necessarily evil—actually, it’s like most things in life: good in moderation. I have written hundreds of pages of papers during my time here (actually, I’d rather not think about it) and I wouldn’t have survived without those random trips to Walmart for Cheetos at 3 a.m. or spending hours making Memes or playing Sushi Cat with my roommate trying to avoid that 10-page paper. These seemingly inconsequential nights are the ones I’ll remember best.

True friends are few and far between and that’s why you should NEVER take them for granted. Sometimes, people can be truly awful. But sometimes, they can surpass every expectation and hope imaginable, so when they do that, appreciate it.

Writing, Rhetoric and Communication is the most useful major at Transy because it is the epitome of a liberal arts education—it forces students to take information from different disciplines and integrate it into tangible products that encourage others to think outside of the box. Gary Deaton, Martha Gehringer and Dr. Scott Whiddon are incredible professors who truly care about their students and their futures. Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t have been accepted to three academic conferences, nor finished an extensive senior seminar project, nor done the good work of a writing center (with the immense help of Becky Mills), nor had a rewarding internship at Business Lexington, nor would I be attending a top-rated Master’s program in Rhetoric and Composition in the fall, and most importantly, I wouldn’t love and appreciate Transy’s academic culture. WRC deserves the respect of this campus and should be placed in a position where it can grow—and I think that’s a battle worth choosing.

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