Hasta Luego, Hilltop Views

“That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.”  Joan Didion, “Slouching Toward Bethlehem.”

On June 17 I begin my journal entry with a fragment of a quote I take from an essay in one of Joan Didion’s books, “Slouching Toward Bethlehem.” Not all of the promises would be kept, I write, and hope to remember the rest: “that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.”

That it had counted after all. All of it. These words reverberate in my mind occasionally when I decide to skip a $1,000 class or pay for a $3 coke or miss a priceless opportunity to play beer die with my friends. That it had counted after all; every failed love affair, every awkward interview, every long afternoon spent at the pool and every late night spent at the office has culminated into what is now, the sum of a four year pursuit of legitimate credentials.

That I will graduate university and say farewell to the award-winning student newspaper I’ve sometimes saved and sometimes neglected is both a relief and a provocation of a deep anxiety; what next, and did any of it matter?

I imagine it has. That my words have influenced the views of receptive readers and stirred something in the resistant ones is a considerable victory. That I’ve learned and taught a few things, that maybe president Martin hasn’t totally written me off yet as gonzo and that I have what university officials would call a “well-rounded portfolio,”All The Right Stuff, isn’t bad either.

For this I have to thank all the mentors and friends who have influenced me on the way, who have allowed me to, for the first time here, deviate from AP style and write in fragments and run-ons and italicize and capitalize Whatever I Please.

Most of all I have to thank Jena Heath for her steady counsel and her early and oft-repeated advice: “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Then of course, there are the regulars: Andrea, Lilli, Amanda, Matt, for being steadfast friends and sensible editors.

Importantly, thanks to Joe Ferris and Daniel Collins for Being There (and especially Joe for steadily supplying me with Sustainability propaganda), and to Max and Cameron for having me in their home and often making me question my sanity.

In previsione, I would like to thank whoever will write for our newspaper in the future; student journalism is a vital institution that is exceedingly under threat.

We have come a long way from the days a faculty member reviewed the pages prior to their being sent to the printer (now, for the unaware, we are entirely student-run). Meanwhile, student newspapers around the country are losing funding and losing way to censorship.

It is imperative to use the platform we have to write constructively about issues that matter to students and the university and Austin and the world at large; to stay silent would be a travesty. Not every piece published in this paper is consequential, but many of them will be. Whatever you write, or decline to write will matter.

It will count after all; all of it.