THE SILHOUETTE • A7
THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011
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The end is growing near CASSANDRA JEFFERY OPINIONS EDITOR
There is something inherently depressing about the end of a school term. Despite my excitement for a much-anticipated and muchneeded four month vacation, I will genuinely miss the university lifestyle. Right now, we’re in the final stretch – exams and assignments are overwhelming, the significant lack of sleep is beginning to rear its ugly head, and our once-lavish food supply is diminishing at an exponential rate. We’re tired, we’re stressed, and we’re hungry, and yet we continue to push towards that metaphorical finish line lingering ever so close in the distance. We all complain how much we hate the months of March and April, how we hate the seemingly endless work load and constant studying, but when it’s all over and when everything is said and done, we’ll miss this place. McMaster has been our home and our sense of belonging for eight months and ending an academic year is always a tad heart-wrenching. We’ve developed and nurtured relationships, shared new and exciting experiences, complained about a terrible class, went to a terrible class hung over, pulled countless all-nighters, and consumed massive amounts of caffeine. We’re university students living up to the expectations of university being the best years of our lives. To leave, to periodically end my university experience, is a sad reality which I have yet to face. I am, as I’m sure most of you are as well, comfortable in the confines of McMaster University and have no desire to leave. My sympathies to those
graduating students who must dive head first into the real world, which I can assume is only filled with scary 9-5 jobs and mortgages; no more Wednesday night Motown escapades for you, from here on up it’s generic matching pant suits and briefcases. Although the summer sun and break from essay writing is something to look forward to, I cannot help but express my excitement for September. Currently in my second year at McMaster, I still have two glorious,
has been a success. Of course there are assignments that could have gone better and there are times when I definitely shouldn’t have had that last drink, but good or bad, they were all experiences; periods in my life that will only motivate and influence circumstances in the future. I have no resistance in admitting that university, and the life associated with it, is challenging. I cannot recall a day when I was completely carefree of the life I have been living. I am never ignorant of the next up-coming assignment or Silhouette production night because We’re university stuthis lifestyle, this hectic university dents living up to the lifestyle is the one I enjoy the most. expectations of I enjoy learning and engaging in an academic environment and I university being the love my university job as an editor best years of our and writer; certainly both are lives. To leave, to experiences that I will never forget. periodically end my Without the overwhelming expectations of school and the university experience tedious task of writing article after is a sad reality I have article I would be lost, lost in a yet to face.” world in which the most important decision in my life would consist fun-filled, essay writing years on the of what style shirt I should buy horizon. Perhaps it’s the studious for gallivanting around the bar environment or the anticipation for scene. University provides purpose back-to-school shopping that really and literary expression provides sends my excitement over the edge. substance. I mean, who doesn’t love to sport I complain when I their brand new back pack on the have several essays due and two first day of school? thousand words to write on my Remember rolling into opinion regarding conflicts in the your first day of grade three with Middle East, but truth be told, I a stylish new pair of light-up need the consistency of a fast-paced sneakers? Yeah, I still get that lifestyle, I need the exams and the feeling on the first day of university. assignments, and I need McMaster. My love for school has only been Why? Because I love university. heightened throughout the years, Because I love not having a 9-5 job. except now I can voluntarily stay Because I love my friends. Because up past 9 o’clock and I don’t have I love writing, and most importantly, to ask the teacher to be excused to because I love picturing my snazzy, use the bathroom. What more could brand-new light-up sneakers on you possibly ask for? the first day of school. Who can Overall, I would have to honestly say they hate university say my second year at McMaster when they have light-up sneakers?
CHRISTOPHER CHANG / SENIOR PHOTO EDITOR
Returning to school in September is always a happy image.
What I’ve learned through Opinions PETER GOFFIN
You there, reader. I like you. And so I will share with you some pretty personal information. This article is kind of a tough one for me. I’m revisiting some old stompin’ grounds, likely for the last time, and I’m feeling a little low. See I toiled in the Opinions section for two years before moving up to Executive Editor. In my time as Opinions Editor I’d say I banged out just over 100 articles. And I read and edited about 300 more. That’s over 400 opinions, 400 distinct ideas and views of the world. I’d like very much to think that I took something away from some, if not all, of the opinions that I’ve seen printed over the years. I’d like to think I’ve learned some lessons, partially through reading, and partially through going to work every day at a job that is really about sharing thoughts. Seeing as how I’m about to shuffle off my editorial coil here, I think it’s only fair to leave my lessons with you. I like you, remember? And besides, three years of learning isn’t meant to be shut away in a tomb like a Pharoh’s
servants. In the spirit of the Opinions section, which is really the spirit of give-and-take, fostering thought and expression, I give to you a little bit of what I’ve learned, organized into three categories mostly for flair and fanciness but also to keep this ramble straight. The categories are Red, for politics, White, for peace, and Blue for swearing and fucking and all that good stuff. Red It’s probably safe to admit, now that I am leaving and have my Political Science degree safely in hand, that I don’t know all that much about party politics. I know enough to get by. Frankly, though, which politicians support which bill, and who said what to the Prime Minister can be a bit of a drag sometimes. I certainly understand the unwillingness of some people to follow party politics. But I have found, more through my involvement in this publication than through any class, that politics has nothing to do with governance. Daily life is political. Any idea you have about the world is political. People, every single one of you, of us, is political, simply by getting up in the morning and thinking and
speaking and living. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any idea of how the government works or even who’s in charge of the country. If you think your tuition is too high, you have a political opinion. If you think it’s too hard to find a job, you have a political opinion. If you are worried about the environment, you have a political opinion. What’s more, expressing those opinions or any others, something that this publication has helped people do for over 80 years now, is one of the most overtly political acts you can ever commit. Throughout my time here at the Silhouette I’ve seen people who have never even voted before who are more engaged in politics than some politicians are, simply by virtue of the fact that they are thinking, questioning, writing, talking about their beliefs and their wants. White If I had to come up with one single theme that ran through all of the pieces I’ve written for the Silhouette, it would be “understanding”. The vast majority of my opinions have dealt with accepting, and tolerating, and coming in from the extremes
of belief and action. I have, above all else, been in favour of gettin’ along. And in writing all those peaceful articles, I learned one of the more fascinating, surprising, but ultimately sad lessons this job: that peace almost always finds itself the underdog against violence and hatred. I have heard more criticism in response to articles of my own and others which advocated directly for peace and understanding, than I have for all other topics put together. As an idea, peace simply isn’t well received, maybe because it’s so foreign a concept. And this is not a criticism or indictment of the people who have complained. Rather, it is an observation about one of the more disappointing sides of human nature. As far as I have seen, people tend most often to think that believing in a cause means to put all other considerations aside for it, and that to want something means to do anything in order to get it. It’s a pre-evolutionary way of thinking, basic and animalistic. What I have also learned in my time reading the wants and pleas of this school, is that a goal is only ever as worthy as the principles that drive you to want it. I have seen many, heard many, who
believe in good, important causes, who want equality and peace and safety but believe that violence is the only way to achieve it. I have seen many who advocate freedom of expression but also insist theirs is the only possible answer. To me, even if they achieve their goals, these people have lost, because they violated their principles to get there. If you believe in the good, in the right, then your aim really should be to uphold it even if it means losing some of your battles. Blue I once wrote a piece that I called the ultimate opinion. It stated, basically, that every problem in the world has been caused by fucking and fighting. In writing that article and thinking about it afterwards, I think I’ll have to amend that statement now to say that our problems are really just blameable on fucking. The thing is, the vast majority of fighting is committed for the sake of fucking. Some people fight to gain the safety or right to fuck in peace and comfort. Other people fight for money but, really, what is the reason for wanting money if not •PLEASE SEE THREE A8
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