Joe Kind: A Guy

by Joe Kind | 5/24/16 5:01pm

The time has come, for me to lip-sync for my life.

Oh, how the time has passed. I can no longer break down my time at Dartmouth as three-and-a-fraction years. It’s too close to the end to pretend I am not standing at the edge of the real world.

That is, in a few measly days, I will walk on a stage, accept a piece of paper and walk off a stage.

My life is no longer a rehearsal. Not that I will ever stop learning, and memorizing and acting.

Graduation brings out a slew of emotions, feelings, sentiments, whatever you want to call them. It is not in anyone’s best interests for me to describe them.

In my brainstorm for this final column, I thought of how my first column began and ended with references to Drake lyrics. I have worked every muscle in my 10 jittery fingers to avoid doing so again. Because come on, am I not better than that?!

And in all honestly, with another year of lessons — learned and lost, in all honesty ­— I’d like to think that I am indeed “better than that.”

Green Key weekend left me exhausted, due to all that warm weather no doubt. I have never experienced back-to-back-to-back concerts before, let alone so many consecutive days spent mostly on my feet. It is with sad news that I announce the very near passing of one of my long-time favorite pairs of sneakers, harmed by all the crowds and jumps and tip-toes. There were, plain and simple, a few too many bruises incurred.

Week nine of the term is here, somewhat suddenly. I have to admit a part of me is relieved. In the nearing end, the choices I have had yet to make are starting to make themselves. With or without my prompting, I cannot help but feel the movement of the term hit me like an ocean wave on my turned back. I had to know it was coming, and yet it managed to really startle me.

I love the ocean. I grew up by one, and it is probably a reason why I became a college swimmer. I was one of those kids that never took breaks from the water; it never bothered me when my hands pruned, or when I had to pee. Everybody does it, right?

Some habits are not meant to be broken. Take exercise as one of them. My body is feeling the burn post-Green Key and still craves time in the gym. I think it is really starting to realize how much better my days on the swim team were for it. Alas, the real world will come around, and I will actually do what I need to do. For my happiness and sanity.

What does the real world have in store for me, for my happiness and sanity? Time will tell. Just like time has told me what Dartmouth can do for my happiness and sanity — or, more importantly, what Dartmouth cannot do for my happiness and sanity.

For example, Dartmouth cannot protect me from my own misgivings about who I am.

Dartmouth cannot guarantee me a job, no matter how much I want to believe otherwise.

Dartmouth cannot even ensure I will make friends here.

But Dartmouth can provide me with incredible resources and opportunities to make the most of these woods while I am here.

Dartmouth can encourage me to express myself and my opinions.

Dartmouth can expose me to brilliant mentors, faculty and upperclassmen alike.

Like I said last September: I never started at the bottom. I ended up here, through my ups and downs, and I have no choice but to be proud of how I got here. I made it, and yet in the greater scheme of things I am only just beginning.

Even more than a degree, Dartmouth offers a kind of script for life, to memorize and to cherish. All I can really do is mouth the words, even if I have yet to fully internalize what they mean. Hopefully my audiences will understand me.

Before my columns descend into the oblivion, I want to take the time to thank those most important to me and my life. You know who you are, I hope. And I want to thank my editors for putting up with my rambles and jambles for three terms. It is truly an honor to be taken at least somewhat seriously.

There is so much to this life beyond a single set of outcomes or standards to aspire to. And yet as one of my most important life milestones inches closer and closer, I cannot help but marvel in the moments I do have left here. In spite of my day-to-day funds now wiped away by the College, as if I did not have two more full weeks of school, these last few classes may be my last ever. Who knows? If you are reading this, it is not too late to tell me what to do with my life. It will never be too late.