I never thought it would be so hard to write my senior column. I figured I'd have so much to say, so much wisdom to impart, so many stories to tell and so many experiences to share.
And I do have all those things.
But still as I sat down to write this, I found myself staring at a blank page for hours. I consulted friends and looked through old pictures, but I still could not seem to figure out how to express in words what the last four years have meant to me.
And then it occurred to me that maybe there was a reason why.
Maybe it was the notion of having to write my senior column that was getting to me. It symbolized the end. It means I've reached the end of my time at The Chronicle, the end of my time in Durham and, sadly, the end of my college years.
I'm not ready for this all to end.
When I finished high school, I left behind the greatest group of friends any kid could ask for growing up. We had been through everything together from kindergarten on.
And while moving on to college was a bittersweet transition, I always knew that when I returned home for breaks we would get together and do the same things we had always done.
But I won't have that same luxury with my Duke friends. There won't be Winter Breaks when we all reunite in Durham and relive our past experiences. Once we leave here, there won't be one place that we all call home. Instead we'll be working and going to school in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities across the country and around the world.
A friend recently said to me, "We'll never all be together again."
As much as I hope he's wrong, it's frightening to think that he might be right. At the very least, we'll never be together like this again-as carefree college students, enjoying the freedoms of college life and everything that Duke has to offer.
I'll never again eat a burrito or quesadilla at Cosmic after a long night of drinking with friends at Sati's. I'll never again play stickball and host barbecues with fraternity brothers in Few Quad. And I'll never again sit around 301 Flowers with fellow Chronicle editors doing absolutely nothing-while having a great time doing it-until ungodly hours of the morning.
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I've seen my final men's basketball game as a Cameron Crazie after missing only one in my four years (I was out of town for an interview). I've been to my final tailgate, even if it was a far cry from the glory of my first. And maybe, just maybe, I've shotgunned my final Busch Light.
I'm not ready for all these things to end.
I'm not trying to suggest that Duke is perfect. There are some things that need improvement, but I haven't let them detract from my overall experience. I've tried to make the most of my time at Duke because like most of us, I only had four years. That's why I've thrown myself so completely into my passions-whether it was The Chronicle, my fraternity, my friends or occasionally my schoolwork-and I've tried not to let opportunities slip by.
And as a result, I've had a heck of a ride here. I have so many incredible memories with so few regrets.
I hate when people ask me if I'm excited that graduation is only a few weeks away.
Because the answer is no, I'm not.
Maybe some people are ready to get out of here. Ready to leave Duke and Durham. Ready to move on to bigger and-what they might deem-better things. But I'm not.
I could do without the schoolwork, but the rest is going to be hard to leave behind.
I wish I never had to write a senior column. I wish college could go on forever.
Mike Van Pelt is a Trinity senior. He is the former sports editor and current supplements editor and sports columnist of The Chronicle.