Senior Column- Kat Bengston


I had no idea what to write for this column. The great well of inspiration finally ran dry and I sat on a deserted island, a treeless, waterless island, alone and without any imagination to call my own.

Things were looking rather grim.

But then I began to think about the many farewells I’ve read and heard, and I decided that since this is my last column in this paper, I should at least attempt to write something original and witty so the masses at Allegheny College will remember me fondly and with a great sadness in their souls. (Though, bless you all very truly, you will most likely not.)

Farewells are always sentimental. Regardless of how much you hate a place, nostalgia has this terrible way of sneaking up on you. Before any sort of defense can be constructed, you’re on the ground sobbing with a box of tissues, snapping photos not only of people you don’t like, but also of buildings that were too cold in the summer and too hot in the winter. And then there is that horrifying part of graduation where classmates unfit to be touched with a thirty–foot pole somehow become huggable.

All of this usually occurs after a few drinks. (Graduation robes are bulky. You’re insane if you think we haven’t taken the opportunity to conceal a few flasks.)

I must admit that I am not of the sentimental sort, even after liberal amounts of alcohol. If anything, drinking only serves to sharpen my wit to new (but not entirely comprehensible) heights. I can’t say I’m sad to leave Allegheny at all.

Oh, shock! How very ungrateful of me, you say?

I must disagree. How very grateful of me, actually.

If I had a mad desire to stay here, Allegheny wouldn’t have done its job. I’d demand a full refund down to my Game Room fees. Bubble though it may be, college is meant to prepare us for life. I can’t ask for my money back because that particular part of the curriculum succeeded.

I’ve outgrown this place.

The development of this particular strain of claustrophobia was so minute I didn’t notice it until a few weeks ago. Senior year is busy, filled with last-minute graduation requirements, applications for jobs, grad schools and internships as well as senior projects.

When my agenda thinned out and I had time to think, I felt nervous. Yet my panic subsided quickly.

I have a summer job, I have prospects in the fall. My comp has been printed and is, quite literally, out of my hands. My oral is on Monday and I am frantically searching for a summer apartment. But even those things aren’t particularly pressing.

For all intents and purposes, I am finished. I can leave, free and clear, and venture out into the real world come May to fail, or not to fail.

Personally, I’d prefer the latter, but you never know.

As I said before, I am not nostalgic. There are things about Allegheny I will miss and there are things at Allegheny I do not care to see or acknowledge ever again.

I view my four years here as a time I made the best of, but certainly not as the greatest years of my life. Allegheny was a stepping stone to years I may, at the wise, wrinkled and senile age of 99, identify as my finest.

Do not take this as an insult.

Like every other institution, Allegheny is flawed. But this is not to say that its flaws are always a terrible thing. Allegheny is a place of transit, a place where we go to mature into people very much like adults. Or so we hope.

And so, I leave the administration with one sage piece of advice: please, please, please fix your heating system, if not for the whole campus, at least for Caflisch Hall. The environment, the faculty, the staff and the student body at large will be grateful to you forevermore.