If I create an eHarmony profile after my May 12 graduation, it’ll look something like this:
• Occupation: Finding a job
• Income: Less than I made at the Lariat
• Education: Does a journalism degree count?
• Hometown: Katy
• Current city: Take a wild guess
With the real world snarling and licking its chops like Fluffy the three-headed dog and eyeing the fresh meat that is Chris Derrett, I feel it’s my duty to take a not-so-introspective, not-super-serious look at my Baylor career.
I can’t be fired for anything I write, and I’d have to say something pretty offensive to have my diploma revoked, so why shouldn’t you and I enjoy this last column?
Let’s start with the bad times, which eventually became the good times and are now the unbelievably believable times.
Shortly after Line Camp, where I did more Sic ’ems in four days than I’ve done in the rest of my time at Baylor combined, I unexpectedly had my “welcome to Baylor football” moment.
Knowing Baylor football’s propensity to stink throughout my high school years, I always figured my “welcome” moment would be a crucial fumble, interception or pregame forfeit.
Thankfully the moment actually came near the end of the second quarter against Wake Forest, when some guy dashed down the field, stopped like a human joystick to avoid a defender and kept running for a 22-yard gain. Now he plays for the Washington Redskins.
As seniors we’ve seen how Baylor’s athletic success has blossomed since 2008, and it’s become a huge deal even to the most casual fans. It’s virtually impossible to measure the size of enormous moments like a Heisman trophy and a women’s basketball national championship.
Then again, college has also been about small moments, everyday gatherings or random events that make our experiences unique.
For me, it might be things like watching movies with a group of friends in Penland until 3 a.m. and carefully escorting the girls out of the room, a room located three doors down from the hall director.
I’m not saying that did happen, and I’m not saying it didn’t.
I’ll remember things like game nights in the Russell lobby, where I once sold my Monopoly estate for a Subway sandwich.
I’ll remember stories from my best friends, like the time a close friend of mine crashed his bike after trying to ride over a Fountain Mall speed bump while talking on his cellphone. When the group of cute girls ran over to check on him, he assured them he was OK.
Of course, you could fly over your handlebars at any school, so when I think about my Baylor career, I have to remember times I enjoyed that wouldn’t have been possible at any other university.
I’m thankful for the chance to work at the Lariat for the last three years, and I will never forget traveling with Lady Bears, Courtside Players and spirit squad around the country during the Lady Bears’ 2010 Final Four run. Now that I think about it, Brittney Griner is probably still wondering what my friend and I were doing stepping onto the hotel elevator each with seven pillows in our arms.
My time at Baylor also wouldn’t be complete without the abundant opportunities students have to get plugged into a college ministry in Waco. I will forever regret that it took me three years to finally crawl out of my cave and find a college ministry, but through this group I’ve still had the chance to skate around a roller rink wearing a jean vest and be mistaken for Snoop Dogg on Facebook.
That brings me to my final point. Traditions, stories and opportunities unique to Baylor would be nothing without the people around us every step of the way.
On May 12 I’ll see my friends who can’t go 30 seconds without making a “Remember the Titans” reference when we’re together. I’ll see my mother and brother, and maybe I’ll picture my late father sitting next to them.
I’d give anything for Dad to see me walk across the stage, but I know he would have given anything for me to have the opportunity at such a diploma.
Seniors, we’ve both personally and collectively amassed more unforgettable stories than Baylor has parking complaints. Anything we say about graduation could just as well be conveyed with a deep, deep breath and a long, long exhale.
Freshmen, try not to blink, because when you open your eyes, you’ll see your graduation cap falling to the ground after you’ve triumphantly tossed it up in the air.
Yep, that’s the same “up in the air” as my post-graduation plans.
Chris Derrett is a senior journalism major from Katy and was the Lariat’s editor in chief.