Christopher Jackson’s Senior Column

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Friends,

Someone said once that all relationships end in either death or breakup. Whether marriages or friendships, this is assuredly true. The relationship might be unimportant, and the death might be decades away, but our time with people is fundamentally finite. It is this scarcity of life that gives it much of the meaning, the significance. For many people, the end of high school is the first time that this basically temporary nature of life is made obvious. After 13 years of being surrounded by friends and neighbors, the fact that we have to move on and that our relationships are temporary become apparent.

Don’t waste time
When I think about high school, I have a split mind about it. On the one hand, school is more often about socializing than education (this is not a criticism-school is a crucial socializing setting for development) and I learned how to more clearly communicate, empathize and listen to people. I also found it very frustrating at times because I have a difficult time with nonverbal communication and I suspect people find me ruder and more abrasive then I intend to be. So while I have met and kept close to a variety of incredible people, I know that I probably missed opportunities or unintentionally rubbed people the wrong way. The frustration comes from the fact that people judge me as they do others because they believe I communicate like others do.
My purpose is not to invoke pity. It is to suggest to all readers that they be slow to judgement about the intentions or moral correctness of others because my conclusion is that #1: people generally mean well and #2 rarely do we know how people actually feel. Don’t make the same mistake I did and try to guess the motives of others. Don’t waste time.

I mentioned not pre-judging people too harshly. An example I found of this was Mormons. Virtually every Mormon I have met has been kind, but I usually wrote them off as friends or potentially more because we share so few values or ideas. Like, how am I going to bond with someone who believes [insert arguably farfetched Mormon belief]? And yet, I have been struck by what an extremely pigheaded view this was. Getting to know Hunter and Natalie (the only two people I will specifically call out. You two are special snowflakes) this year has meant so much to me, and I hold an immense regret of being so narrow-minded earlier. Take this as the parable of prejudging. Don’t waste time.

All this is to say that your friends are the most important part of high school (and arguably life) and you must treasure them.

Education
Having been nurtured in the Hawkeye state for the last 18 years, it looks like I’ll be spending the next 4 here as well. I’ll be attending the University of Iowa in an area designated by some as The People’s Republic of Johnson County. I suspect that I will be one of the relative moderates on a campus that had SDS activity in the 60’s and boasts one of the most liberal atmospheres in the Midwest.
The college process is interesting, especially in saying something about who attends what place. It is far from meritocratic

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