Student Voice


December 4, 2023




Final days in RF require big plans

December 15, 2006

Cue the groans -- here comes another tearjerker from a graduate-to-be.

Ms. Clarke’s column in last week’s Student Voice helped me realize it would be best to end my journalistic career with a column that fits the occasion and provides a sense of finality. Instead of retrospectively evaluating my college career, however, I thought I’d indulge my audience on what I plan to do before I leave River Falls. For everyone who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my plans or my writing — the politically conservative, humorless, let’s-not-take-life-lightly faction of UWRF — don’t bother reading. You’ll get bored. And while you’re at it, go to hell.

Before I leave, I will glance over a few random columns I’ve written for the Voice, and I’ll see how the subject matter didn’t stray much from politics, substance abuse and sex. I’ll reassure myself that’s what college students like to read about recreationally. That’ll make me chuckle, and I’ll chuckle, too, at how I never mastered the Associated Press style of writing because I’ve become accustomed to the Modern Language Association’s style. Then I’ll laugh at myself for being nerdy enough to come about that realization.

That will remind me of my fellow English major nerds with whom I shared most of my classes, and how I’ll have to wish them a poignant farewell sometime soon. We are nerds only because we fit the stereotypical mold of a nerd: we speak and write in clear, grammatically- sound sentences, and we find ourselves in a computer chair, the library, the English department or a book day after day (after day).

But this has made us smart — so smart, in fact, that if I wasn’t leaving this campus, I would challenge any other department in a Jeopardy match. Not only would we win, but we could also whip out a 10-page essay analyzing the overall theme of competition. And that’s why I love those nerds. I will go to Bo’s and drink vodka tonics until I can’t stand straight, and eat extra-salty popcorn and pretend be a seasoned billiards veteran.

I will attend the commencement ceremony Saturday, but not in a diploma-receiving capacity. I’ll be there reporting on the pomp and circumstance for a University news release. Getting paid to listen to the “This is the first day of the rest of your life” speech isn’t such a bad gig, considering most of my friends will be there sporting the silly cap-and-gown attire. Surely, though, it’ll be dull.

That reminds me: I’ll have to remember my book of crosswords. And maybe a flask.

At some point I will wander past the River Falls Police Department and consider pissing on the door handle of a squad car. Better yet, I might remove the P and O from the “POLICE” lettering on the face of the building because, like lice, law enforcement departments have a parasitic nature. They rely on others’ follies in order to thrive.

When I get there, though, I’ll be afraid of getting caught, so I’ll have to settle for tastelessly sticking up my middle finger at that cream-colored piranha hole on my way out of town.

Protect and serve, right? Sure. I’ll believe that when my shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet.

I will bid adieu to the badasses at the Grounds Maintenance department — my former coworkers and surrogate patriarchs (“younger brothers” would be more fitting, actually). When I show up during their lunch break, they’ll ask how many times I’ve been arrested or how many chicks I’ve slept with in the last two weeks, and I’ll hunker down in my old napping chair and plead the Fifth. Then they’ll tell me to come back when I am willing to share my dubious accomplishments over some coffee and raised-and-glazed doughnuts, which they’ll tell me to supply. I’ll playfully refuse because they’ve taught me a thing or two about submitting to authority.

I will cross paths with a few pretty girls I never had the balls to ask out on a date or even speak to, and I’ll kick myself in the ass for it. I will thank the professors I’ve had for passing along their knowledge — but only the brilliant, well-informed ones who could easily teach at Harvard and understand that students have lives outside the classroom that need attention too. I’ll give a halfhearted nod goodbye to the ones I didn’t like — the moronic ones who shouldn’t even be teaching entry-level courses at a technical school or see students only as students, not as people.

I’ll walk past that repulsive clock outside the library and spit on it. It cost too much, it’s ugly, its placement is impractical and it protrudes into the meaty section of campus like a giant anal probe.

There, I came out and said it. Then, when my lease is up in late January, I’ll pack my trusty silver Escort with my tangible belongings — like my ladybug costume and Bob Dylan poster — while the intangibles — like my education and student loan debt — will find storage space in the back of my head, and I’ll begin the long drive away from this fair city down the road toward possible success or, more likely, an ill-fated future.

Well, that about does it — wraps it all up. I’m off to grow out my beard, get buff and see if any successful actresses want to be my sugar momma. Catch ya later on down the trail.

Ben Jipson is a student at UW-River Falls.