Late So Soon

by Liam Kuhn | 6/9/02 5:00am

How did it get so late so soon?

It's night before it's afternoon.

December is here before it's June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?

--Dr. Seuss

How did it get so late so soon? It seems like just yesterday I was alone in my freshman dorm room, memorizing the face book and lancing the blood-blisters on my feet left over from my DOC trip. Well, not really; that's a disgusting image and probably not how I want to begin my final column, even if the unbearable patheticism rings true. The point is, time really did fly. And, like it or not, this is it. After today, it's over. Goodbye to Dear Old Dartmouth.

As is the case for many of you, Dartmouth is where I came to find myself. I don't know if anyone can ever really find himself, per se, because that implies that the self has stopped evolving, that implies a stasis I wouldn't wish on anyone. A rut, if you will. But, for better or for worse, I have developed into who I am today while at Dartmouth. I have habits, tendencies, things I fall back on, all gleaned and polished while at Dartmouth. I have a voice. Whether it will ever have anything worthwhile to say remains uncertain, but at least now I know I have a voice. And today, I can look back on four of the uncontested best years of my life and say with confidence that, if nothing else, I've matured a little bit.

My time at Dartmouth has been a little like a marriage. Terrific honeymoon followed by a bumpy first year of doubts, second-guesses and transitory frustrations. But we grew on each other, I guess. I settled in and finally this place became somewhere I could call home. And there are things I'll look back on and they'll always make me smile. My relationship with Dartmouth was not without its share of spats and lovers' quarrels, even a few petty arguments about leaving the seat up on the john and stuff like that. And now I'm in a state of marital bliss, and I don't want it to be over. And if I was ever thinking of renewing my vows to Dartmouth, the Alumni Fund is conveniently already hounding me for donations and pledges.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to chronicle how I feel about this school through my op-ed pieces in The "D." And when I look back on the things I wrote over the years, the opinions I've had and the things that were important to me, one word sums up everything: fortunate. I've had the great fortune of attending one of the greatest colleges in the greatest country in the world and I've met some of the most interesting people one could ever hope to meet. My writing, especially in these pages, comes across a lot better when I'm being bitter and cynical, so please excuse me while I gush. I really do love it here, and I can't think of too many places that'll be harder to say goodbye to.

Our most famous alum is Dr. Seuss, whose quote begins this column and whose books my parents discouraged me from reading as a little kid because his nonsense rhymes bastardized the English language or something like that. Dr. Seuss notwithstanding, my parents have encouraged me in just about everything else, and their love, coupled with the support and friendship and knowledge I've received from so many of you, has prepared me for whatever adventures life will throw at me. And today, we will be sent off into the wide open Real World with another icon from our collective childhood, Fred Rogers, as our Commencement speaker. I think there's a certain poetic justice, a simple beauty in that. And I want everyone here to know that, whatever happens to us out in that scary unknown world out there, we've shared the experience that is Dartmouth (for it truly is an experience and not just an institution), and I would like to think that we are all somehow better people for it.