Aaron Grierson / The Silhouette

In a few short weeks, I will be going away from McMaster. Perhaps not permanently, but the connection will be a fragment of what it has been like the last five years. For most people reading this, that hardly matters. You’re more likely to know friends in my position than you are to know me.

In a way, that’s what I’m writing about. To say goodbye, to the school, to professors, to the student centre, the libraries, the grades. To leave a mark that is more than my photo in a composite. A last mark, anyways. I feel like I’ve scarred enough people as it is.

An inevitable part of such forks in the road is advice, or reflection. Of the former, I have very little for you, dear readers. Just persevere for what you love because you love it. That goes for things and people, though if it’s a person, make sure it’s consensual. Also, be sure to take up challenges, even if that’s just talking to the cute person next to you in your lecture. Be friendly, polite, but most of all, sincere. No one likes fakes.

As far as reflection goes, I’m sure I could banter for hours and hours. So I’ll try to keep it short. The short of which, is that McMaster, as a university has been a very mixed bag. I’ve met some people that are just not worth knowing, written some terrible assignments, eaten some bad food, had some bad lectures or less than helpful teaching assistants, and seen pizza boxes set aflame by the professional caterers that work here.

On the other hand, I’ve learned and grown a lot. I tried fencing and enjoyed it, met some frighteningly wise professors, had some pretty awesome grades, seen some excellent shows, and best of all, met a lot of wonderful people. To all of you, from my last half decade, (even though many of you are gone, most of you know who you are), thank you. It’s insufficient to say, so perhaps I’ll get more personal outside of a textual medium that’s printed for thousands of students. But thank you for putting up with my often very sober stupidity (my words, not theirs). Thank you for the new experiences, the good parties, the bonds and the wit.

My regrets are few. There are some courses I wish I could have taken, but by now we all know how SOLAR and class scheduling likes to work. Sure, it has cost a lot, but we’re a lot luckier than some places. More importantly, there are some people I know I have hurt, often without meaning to and I am sorry, once again. It’s never enough, but for me, you’re more than a memory.

My wishes, though, are also few. There are a couple of major areas. The first, and certainly most hopeless is that politics, or rather the politicians of this institution inject more realism into their campaigns. You get the job for a single year and are not a dictator. Promises are nice but realistic goals that are realized are a thousand times more meaningful to your voters.

Second, is Welcome Week, which deserves a good harping, but not just from me. Friendly competition is great, but we need a deeper sense of unity as a school. Lately it seems developments have been sparked for just such a thing, and I hope they go far. But more importantly, I think, we need to focus on two major areas. First, is the commitment of the reps. Don’t sign up for something you can’t be bothered showing up to. And follow the rules, rather than hooking up with first years, please. It’s less embarrassment and paperwork for everyone. Second, and I think more importantly, is stop sending mixed messages. While first years aren’t quite adults, we have this strange dichotomy about having good healthy relationships (not just sexual) and commitment to school work, and while the Week is largely a big party, I don’t think we need to encourage the overt sexualisation that we’re contracted to go against. Those of you who have been reps for years (like I) are probably familiar with what I’m saying. If not, take a minute to think about where the line between ‘good fun’ and promiscuity is for a bunch of late teens that have just been freed from most of the traditional authorities they’re used to.

So, farewell McMaster. What’s left standing between me and this piece of paper with my name on it, is a week of class and four exams. On the whole, it’s been a great five years I know I will miss.

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