Senior column

May 1st, 2014

So, what do I want to write my last column about? It’s a big decision. I feel like it should be advice of some sort, but advice can be so tricky and is obviously situational. So, I guess my advice is to avoid giving too much advice. Although, I guess that’s advice, so I’ve already dug myself into that hole and I might as well continue giving advice that I think it relevant. Consider this the advice column that you probably never asked for and most likely never wanted.


There’s a haiku by the Japanese poet Issa that goes like this: “Oh snail! / Climb Mount Fuji, / but slowly, slowly.” In life, we are faced with all kinds of tasks, big and small, and when we have big tasks to conquer, we often make the dangerous mistake of trying to bite off more than we can chew. It’s important to take them a little bit at a time. A snail can climb Mount Fuji, but it can’t do it quickly.


Read good books. Listen to good music. Eat good food. Drink good wine.


Remember that failure is a necessary and healthy part of life and that we sometimes learn more from failure than from success. Maybe that’s a little cliche, but I don’t care. Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” You’re most likely not going to get everything in life right the first time. No matter how good you might be at almost everything, odds are at some point you’re going to fail. Don’t let it bother you.


Failure is important and vital to character building. Have you ever met someone who has never failed at anything in their life? No matter how nice they might be, they’re probably a little obnoxious. Perfection is nice, but it isn’t everything. Try to fail. You learn to be graceful that way.


Life advice: don’t dress up as nerds for Halloween. It’s insulting to actual nerds to assume that we all wear suspenders, bow-ties, pants that go up to our rib-cages, and that everything we have ever done since the mid-nineties has been informed by Steve Urkel. Some of us like super heros. Some of us like “Dr. Who.” Some of us like books and tea. Some of us look like normal people.


Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You never learn to grow if you constantly stay where you’re comfortable, you have to try new things to learn to new things.


Write people letters. Keep the postal service in business. Also, it’s a way better way to keep in contact with people. I mean, there isn’t the same instant gratification as there is when you send someone a text, or an email, but life shouldn’t be all about instant gratification. Plus, it’s way nicer to get a thoughtful letter that someone has handwritten than it is to get a ten word text, or even a really nice email.


In life, you’re going to meet a lot of people with differing world views. Be cool to those people. Talk to them. Engage in real dialogue. Learn something. Never stop learning.


And with that, John Carroll community (aka the five people who read my column), I bid you adieu. Goodbye. Auf Wiedersehen. Arrivederci. Maybe our paths will cross again. Maybe they won’t. I can’t predict the future, but I do have a feeling that it certainly won’t be boring. Congratulations class of 2014! Everyone else, keep on doing John Carroll proud. XOXO, Gossip Girl.