Writing this last editorial was much harder than I thought. More than fatigue from writing final papers and studying for final tests, or a lack of time from making final memories with my good friends, I owe this piece’s difficulty to the heavy realization that these past four years made me who I am today in a way I did not think possible.
I knew Mississippi College was the place for me when I stepped on the Quad as a junior in high school. Though my post-graduation plans would change from law school to journalism, I trusted MC and its professors to cultivate my mind and help me become a writer, whatever that looked like.
To recall every lesson I learned between August 2017 and April 2021 would turn this article into the book I plan to write later in life. Therefore, this editorial will be a miscellany of thanks to this institution, and words of advice (whether they need them or not) to its students.
I thank the Mississippi College Department of History and Political Science for widening and improving my perspective on history and humanity. Under the guidance of Dr. Steven Patterson especially, I learned that history is more than a record of great figures doing great things, but a narrative filled with everyday people who act – sometimes with, sometimes against – the dictates of their time. That department is filled with gifted professors who invest themselves in their students, and the student who stays too long outside of Jennings’s second floor runs the risk of missing out on some of this college’s greatest features.
I thank the Department of Communication for taking a chance on a history major, teaching him how to practice journalism, and allowing him to manage its newspaper for the past two and a half years. Dr. Tim Nicholas, Andy Kanengiser, and Dr. Reid Vance imparted unique experiences and perspectives that helped me realize this is part of what God made me to do. I am grateful also to work with a staff of fellow students who are as talented as they are committed to doing quality work. These people made my job easy, enjoyable, and enlightening.
I credit many of my senior year’s zaniest moments to the three guys with whom I live – Ben Stanzell, Chandler Moore, and Matthew Dickerson. They divert me from my studies in eccentric and amusing ways, and I will forever cherish living with them this year.
As for advice, I offer the following free of charge – no access code required:
Wake up early so you can lay in bed for 20 minutes before rising. I open my eyes about 6:30, but get out of bed around 7.
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, and don’t let people put you in a box.
Consider perspectives that challenge and strengthen your own beliefs.
Keep a journal. Even if you do not consider yourself a “good writer,” I cultivated my writing through regular entries in a journal. It is good practice, and challenges you to order your thoughts in a satisfying way. Reflection deserves to be recorded.
When you hear someone give their testimony in church, and they end it with “ask me about it sometime,” always take them up on it. I met one of my best friends that way.
Read a book an hour before you go to bed (I recommend anything by Rick Bragg), and stay apprised of news events in the mornings. I listen to an NPR morning round-up on Spotify in the shower, and browse a variety of news websites throughout the day.
Man cannot live by honey-butter chicken biscuits alone. Once you complete your freshman year, you should eat those as often as you eat your birthday cake.
Running late to 8 a.m. freshman lectures is the best time to grow a beard or make daring fashion choices.
College is one of youth’s last opportunities to have fun and take chances. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but I encourage you to take these four or so years to pursue what you’re good at in new and challenging ways. MC is blessed with people who can help you follow your dreams, one way or another, and I would not be the man I am today without the people I met here.
It has been an honor to learn in your classrooms, make friends on your campus, and tell your stories for posterity. I wish this campus and its people nothing but the best out of life, and look forward to seeing you again.