And just like that, it’s that time of year—the final Monday Monday column of the semester. So skipping past the American Idol-esque buildup, I am Justin Sherman, and I am Monday Monday.

For those of you who know me personally, you’re probably shocked at the thought of me sarcastically criticizing our student body. Who would have ever suspected. Nonetheless, here we are! At the very least, I’m glad that every single person who read my column 100 percent loved it—that nobody thought my piece about two-facedness was petty, that my DukeEngage commentary was not in any way perceived as “completely inaccurate,” and that nobody had a hysterical meltdown over my article on Greek life. And most importantly, not a single one of you dedicated readers thought I was up on my high horse. Always good to have unequivocal support.

If you’re still confused about Monday Monday, though, maybe I can clarify: it’s called satire; Google it.

Now that you know what satire is, I can (hold onto your chair) put the sarcasm on pause.

[pause sarcasm]

When I was first asked to write Monday Monday, I was honestly quite averse to the very idea. I feel that I have very strong control over my in-person verbal sarcasm, but it’s quite easy—as texting and Snapchatting and myriad digital mediums show us—for that delivery and context to get lost in writing. The intent of each word and the intent of the material itself can easily be misunderstood. It can seem that I’m insulting or maliciously attacking when I don’t intend to be; it can cause my opinions and thought processes to be misrepresented; and the written delivery mechanism forces me to change how I articulate the humor itself. Most importantly, it can produce content that just sucks—that, as one loving friend put it, “could probably be better.”

Nonetheless, the idea intrigued me. I love this school; I’m enraptured by its student body; I thought that satire could be an interesting way to prompt conversation about some of its flaws. I continued forward.

I wrote about DukeEngage, political affiliations, two-facedness, Greek life, failure, busyness and stress (aka B.S.), and social media. Lots of drafting and deleting and discarding—especially discarding—of ideas. I certainly was criticized along the way (I daresay some of you were offended by a few of my pieces), but most of the criticism was in reality self-inflicted. There were many points during the semester where I felt, quite frankly, that my critiques were meaningless or too easy or just plain unproductive. Hardly Borowitz-quality, or—as Michael Scott would say—“Reaaachinggg. You’ll get there.”

The reservations I initially harbored also resurfaced. Indeed, I ran into many instances where the meaning behind one of my pieces was lost in translation, simply because of how I presented the ideas in writing. Despite all of that, I can’t take back anything I said. After all (as I condescendingly tell my friends), “That’s not how the internet works.” More importantly, though, that’s not how I work. Much unlike our spineless Speaker of the House, I stand by my positions for more than an hour at a time.

In that vein, hopefully I can share some insights yielded from my Monday Monday experience. So here are some (unsolicited!) takeaways, in no particular order:

  • We should all take ourselves a little less seriously. We’re all Duke students, and so the way we act is reflective of not just us as individuals, but of the Duke undergraduate body as a whole. But who cares about that, right? Perception is overrated.
  • We should all take ourselves a little more seriously. After all, we’re brilliant, unstoppable college students—young, naïve, and definitely still learning. If social media teaches us anything, we shouldn’t be afraid to tell our peers, “We’re better than you.”
  • Talking about doing things is way more important than actually doing them. Joining that club, meeting new people, going into Durham – who says we can’t discuss it all?!
  • The best way to start conversations on campus is to be direct, open and painfully honest with everyone you meet. People are really comfortable with that kind of stuff.
  • Laughing at yourself is a sign of weakness. If something is painful but true, deny it and don’t laugh it off. Offense at bad sarcasm makes you a snowflake.
  • We’re all really open-minded. After all, taking everything in is the only way we can judge other people! Closing that off would be an anti-progressive tragedy.
  • Everyone totally reads Monday Monday.

Satire is ultimately truth and untruth at once. It’s meant to make people think—to fuel introspection, to prompt conversation, and oftentimes to offend some people. So at the end of the day, if I managed to prompt conversation for at least one student, then mission accomplished. I suppose we’ve uncovered one way that might get people talking. But if my bulls**t “reporting” did nothing positive, though, at least there’s a spot for me at Fox News.

For those of you who need a Google Translate for sarcasm: take all of this literally.