In a few short weeks, I’ll be printing off my last papers, scribbling on my final Scantron sheets and turning in my remaining projects. That’s right, dear readers, my illustrious career here at Boston University is ‘- sadly ‘- coming to a close this May. Though this means that your Monday papers will no longer be graced with doting dedications to President Barack Obama’s impeccable liberal record or odes to the grace of our Mother Earth, it also means that I will be starting my adult life, bachelor’s degree of science in print journalism in one hand and a burger spatula in the other!
Of course, it’s much more than a piece of paper. In light of next year’s 3.75 percent tuition hike I can say that my diploma represents an $185,000 investment in my future (in today’s market, no less). I can also say that it is part of a sturdy old tree that used to be home to an adorable family of blue jays before being cut down and ground into pulp. Most importantly, however, I can say that my diploma is a symbol of all the useful skills I’ve acquired here in the last four years: skills that will have potential employers salivating at the prospect of paying me to bag groceries.
You see, BU has given me more than just reporting experience (though I’ve got at least an hour of that) and valuable printed clips (about a half-dozen; you’re actually holding one of those right now, so could you send it my way for my portfolio?). I’ve accrued at least three important life skills in the last four years, which I can present in handy list format for your reading convenience!
First, my time here has shown me that sometimes, it pays to break the rules. In WR 150 freshman year, I learned that split infinitives were totally alright, because English is a Germanic language. In JO 307, I learned that a surviving pet is the most important part of a fire story. In EN 373, I learned that split infinitives were the greatest sin in writing, because the teacher said so. Finally, in JO 308, I learned that a surviving pet is the least important part of a fire story. The senseless and ethereal nature of classroom rules has taught me that authority should be disrespected at all times and that my future bosses have no idea what they’re talking about: that’ll come in handy when I’m folding town gowns at Old Navy!
I’ve also learned that there’s no need for knowledge or ability above middle school level to be successful in life. Through classroom interactions, peer editing and in-class questions from fellow students, I’ve seen that getting into a highly ranked and well-known school like BU doesn’t require people to have a decent grasp of the English language, much less know how to spell the name of the historical personage they’re writing a research paper on. Having watched people drink, smoke and snort their way through a nearly Ivy League-class education has taught me that things like hard work, preparedness and responsibility are virtually useless in the real world of assignments, judgment and work. I plan to utilize my classmates’ techniques while pretending to file paperwork for a small-town doctor’s office.
But, dear readers, you mustn’t think I’m so dull that I can only cull lessons from my classes and acquaintances here at BU! No, I’ve had my eyes and ears wide open this whole time, and I’ve learned some pretty important things! For instance, I now regard fiscal responsibility as a paltry and useless skill, since the billion-dollar enterprise we all ship nearly $50,000 a year to is somehow unable to stay within budget despite broken locks, decades-old A/V equipment, mould-causing leaks in virtually every residence hall and countless other cost-saving measures. As I’ve already said, BU is a well-respected and classy establishment all around, so if it doesn’t need to stay in the black in their balance books, why the heck do I? I’m sure that my supervisors will appreciate my ability to consistently bring in short register drawers at Wal-Mart.
Of course, don’t take all of this to mean that your classes are useless: I’m sure that the half-dozen general education classes you slept through freshman year would be worth the money all by themselves, even if BU life wasn’t so rife with opportunities for learning. Indeed, as you all graduate into the financial bloodbath that is the U.S. job market, I’m sure that you’ll look back on what you learned here at BU and know that it deserves a few hundred thousand bucks more, so when the university calls you at 9 a.m. (on your five-month anniversary of moving back in with your parents) to ask for cash, you’ll be glad to pony up. It’s all money well spent.