A recent quest for some missing books and files led me to a wadded stack of student newspapers from my college days. From sophomore to senior year, I wrote a regular opinion column, and I saved the newspapers to have print copies of the articles. Yesterday I finally took the time to cut out and file away each article (though not the ones from senior year; I seem to have stopped collecting the newspapers after junior year). This afforded me the opportunity to re-read all of my columns and come to grips with the fact that I have a past as a major smartass.
Truly, I was a smartass, and I reveled in it (and I think I would be lying if I said some smartassery didn’t still linger within me). I was sure that I had some special insight into intelligent, rational thought, and my column was my means for the enlightenment of others. I was a fair epitome of the term “sophomore”, i.e., someone who thinks they are much wiser than they actually are. My column was actually called “Get Smart.”
The day we took pictures to printed with our columns, we took “serious” and “silly” photos, and like any normal college students, picked the silly ones to print. I was wearing aviators in mine and making a “wry” face. My (affable and forthright) philosophy professor said to me once, “You know…you kind of look like a pothead in this picture!”
My column was fairly popular and sparked discussions in some of my classes, at least, and I don’t necessarily disagree with most of what I wrote. It’s hard to articulate and back up an opinion in 400-500 words (just look at my posts here), and I favored the blunt, witty approach. Towards the end of my time there I had already begun to change, though; my topics turned from political to philosophical & theological, I renamed my column “Truth in Fiction”, and I requested to write less frequently. Apparently from that point I didn’t care to save the print copies.
I truly enjoyed writing the column, up until the end when I just got tired of everything college. I enjoyed being a fantastic smartass. Yet, while I wouldn’t mind writing regularly for publication again, I think I’m going to (try to) leave the sophomore me in college and instead make clarity and perspective my bywords.