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Final exam

Sitting here, writing my final column, there’s the temptation to turn it into something major and profound. All I can see in my head is some amalgamation of the last scenes of The Breakfast Club and Animal House... there’s some crappy ’80s music playing as the screen freezes and the subtitles comeup: “Matt DeTura is now living in a box in East Orange.” Not really my style, though.

Other columns this year have made you think, gotten you excited, had you writing letters, pissed you off. I mostly phoned it in (think the hockey column right before break) and made inappropriate jokes (think the one about Terri Schiavo). Every so often I did both.

One school of thought says that a good columnist should be controversial, which was apparently a particularly successful tack this year, getting one set of writers kicked off the paper and another with angry pitchfork-toting mobs ready to chase him out of town. I think the most controversial thing I intimated this year was that Duke is trying to kill off its student body by equipping the dorms with deadly chairs. Of course, there was also the column in which I advocated violence against your fellow students, urging you to punch the ones saying stupid things. Not to mention, the secret plot to overthrow the entire administration, which I’ll now reveal can be deciphered by taking the first letter of every sentence I’ve written this year. (I’ll now take a short break while the more gullible amongst you browse the online archives.)

That said, as low as I set my goals as a writer, I don’t think I accomplished as much as I intended with this column. Mainly, I feel that way because only one cute girl came up to me at a bar this year and said she recognized my name from the paper. (My headshot, taken about 10 minutes after I had seen sunlight for the first time that day, may have had something to do with it.)

Everyone keeps asking me about graduation, and I’m not ashamed to say that I haven’t really thought about it that much. Probably won’t until I’m walking into Wally Wade, or even walking in the door on my first day at work (assuming I ever get hired), or maybe never. When you start thinking about graduation, you might start thinking that you have to justify these four years in terms of a skill set or job experiences. You’ve got the diploma now, though… you don’t have to justify anything. The same people who have wasted the last four years of their lives, so long as they got enough C’s, are going to walk down the same row and shake the same hands as the people who busted their asses for almost half a decade. In fact, thanks to the magic of the alphabetical order, I get to walk well before Pasha and Anthony and therefore will have much fresher hands clapping for me. Sure, those kids are going to have higher starting salaries. Probably by a factor of 14. But nobody can take that little slip of paper (and the $50 Duke University Official Frame, available at the Duke Store) away from me now, baby!

So, my fellow seniors, remember this. When you’re sweltering in your caps and gowns this May, listening to the President of Chili’s drone on about mozzarella sticks and the sampler platter, or whatever, there may be slight pangs of guilt that, like me, you didn’t accomplish everything you set out to. That’s cool. There’s time for that.

It’s called grad school.

Thanks to my patient editor, my favorite proofreaders and joke-testers, everyone who wrote me e-mails (sorry I was too lazy to write any of you back), my friends and all the other people I found tolerable on this campus (special thanks to the staff of Chick-Fil-A; I would be remiss if I didn’t once mention that they are the nicest people at Duke). Of course, thanks to my parents for spotting me a couple thousand and sending me on a four-year vacation out of Jersey for reasons beyond any comprehension.

Wait, I’ll now leave you with something profound and memorable…

Yeah, right. Peace, bitches!

Matt DeTura is a Trinity senior. His column appears every other Friday.


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