Next to spiders, pain and the awkwardness of unexpectedly meeting an acquaintance in public, the thing I hate most is change.

I’ve lived in the same room in the same house in the same city for my entire life. Save for a few years of preschool, I’ve gone to the same school and hung out with roughly the same group of people, too.

I mean, I even have the same haircut that I’ve had since, I don’t know, second grade. Seriously. Look at the pictures.

Believe me, if the world froze the way it was in one big burst of entropic decay, I wouldn’t complain.

A change is coming, though. A big one. My life, as well as the lives of my classmates, will be uprooted and scattered to the wind. All of us will wind up in new places with no friends and nobody but ourselves (at least in the immediate vicinity) for support.

That is, we will go to college. It may not be the “real world,” but it sure as hell stings like it is.

What we will need to come to terms with, and come to terms with fast, is that it is by and large a lonely existence – if not physically then mentally.

I’m not crazy about the idea of writing a “farewell column” – they tend to bloat the final issue, and the four columns written by the four editors-in-chief (collectively adding up to over 36 inches of space) might have cost us an award or two last year.

That said, I’ve been squatting in this particular text box for a year and a half now, and if this column weren’t something “goodbye” flavored, it wouldn’t feel right.

I’m not going to tell you about the stress or the bonding or give you vivid descriptions of the Cave during paste-up because, unless you’re our parents, I don’t think you care much at all.

So instead of that, I’ll just say the only thing I have to say.

I am not good at much.

As I said in my last column, I’m terrible at all things STEM, I can’t do sports, and my sax skills are nothing to write home about.

Really, the only thing I’ve ever been “good” at is making people laugh and, by extension, writing. (I say “good” because I’m afraid that if I acknowledge it and look down, I will be Wily Coyote’d and disappear in a puff of smoke.)

I’m unsure why I feel that way. It’s not as if I’m one of those people who value what they’re good at so much as to viciously and jealously guard it from all criticism, that is, Golluming “the precious” away in the dark places of the world.

I don’t know who I would be if I hadn’t joined the Octagon – I wouldn’t have a place to write save for the occasional English essay, and I usually don’t do much more than what I need to.

All I know is that I probably wouldn’t like myself as much.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, thanks for the voice, Fels. If it weren’t for you, I doubt I would be me.

See you later, guys.

Previously published in the print edition on May 26, 2015. 

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