I’ve reached the end. It doesn’t feel like the end, but if all goes well over the next few weeks, I will be departing from the world of education into that of the educated. It’s a bittersweet departure.
There are many things about Case Western Reserve University that I will miss, and others that I will not. Here, I’ve become a full-fledged person. I’ve learned to communicate and build, organize and lead. I’ve learned to write and read critically, move ideas from inception to execution.
I will not miss my student loan debt. I know it sure as hell won’t miss me.
I won’t miss the structure of education. Learning is an exercise in passion, in pursuing a higher level of understanding motivated by a thirst for knowledge. In an ideal world, the diploma is not the ultimate achievement; it’s a signpost, not the goal. But in a world where the bachelor’s degree is rapidly becoming simply a prerequisite, education becomes more about pushing through grades and assignments than exploring. It saps the energy out of what should otherwise be a joyous activity.
I will miss my fellow students, many of whom I have the privilege of calling friends. In group assignments, in class discussions and student groups, I have met incredible, talented and multifaceted people. If you take a second to look around, you’ll find people doing things that will blow your mind—from music to publishing to engineering, there are students here with ideas, creativity and immense kindness.
I will miss the down time of student life. No other profession fits so easily with my Netflix-watching schedule.
I won’t miss the stress of overlapping and contradictory deadlines brought on by too much leisure time. Read: procrastination.
I will miss The Observer. Those long nights spent squirreled away in a musty room in the basement of Thwing Center gave me purpose and perspective. It launched me on a career path that I never thought possible. It made me who I am, and the memories acquired there will live close to my heart.
I will not miss the endless construction. Since I arrived here, some construction project or another has been tearing up walkways and fields around campus. Construction may be visually pleasing—I must confess, the upcoming University Center is appealing in a minimalist way—but it is not the way to grow a university. Invest in staff, in talent and in worthwhile projects. True, outdated buildings must be done away with, but construction is not an investment in work, it’s an investment in appearance.
I will miss, of all things, the English Department. Though it may seem a little hodgepodge at times, with faculty covering everything from journalism to film under one umbrella, the department’s wonderful professors gave me a level of mentorship and feedback that I am truly unworthy of. I have read books both fantastic and terrible, and written similarly disparate papers, but along the way I found an academic home base.
Though I won’t be leaving Cleveland, I will miss CWRU. For better or worse, my student experience here has defined me and molded me, as I expect it has for my fellow graduates. Our beloved school will go with me into the world, even as I leave it, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Sheehan Hannan is a senior English major. He was formerly the Director of Print for The Observer and the Chairman of Media Board. His writing has also appeared in Cleveland Magazine and Inside Business Magazine. By his count, there was only a single grandma in Positively Cleveland’s tourism video.