College experience surpasses expectation
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 20:05
That lies beyond the ecotone will always be the purest enigma.
For as far as I can tell, without weighing into the earth of one’s new biome and awakening the senses to that new frontier, no forward gazing is ever enough to know what is really ahead.
From the vantage point of my high school self, Contra Costa College was a linear smashing of goals that revolved around one larger ambition — transferring. My stay was planned for the dull rhythm of attend class, leave campus, work and repeat for no more than two years.
Acceptance into a four-year school overshadowed all the subtleties of what I might learn and experience here.
But what a waste of time it would have been to remain so insistent upon the next step.
It was not long before immersion in this community convinced me of this.
There was the sour aroma of stop bath that repeatedly lured me back to the darkroom even when academic classes were more pressing. Six semesters standing and waiting in a dank, smelly closet would have been too many for most, but as fellow dwellers would agree, there is no place more refreshing.
There were the ever-open doors of AA-215, the flop house where Advocate staffers and a select few outsiders gather to laugh, break bread and, oh right, produce one of the finest two-year student newspapers in the nation.
I would never have imagined the sort of responsibilities I would assume or how many hours I would clock beneath the harsh, fluorescent glow of the newsroom.
Day melded into night and night day so seamlessly. Endless hours of writing and editing had my sleep-deprived mind on the verge of hallucination. But still, I was not counting the minutes.
The ones who could really understand the grind and its immense personal reaping were those toiling alongside with the same end in sight.
Even when the hours spent sidestepping assignments outnumbered the times of diligence and focus, they were spent with some of my closest friends and mentors.
Moreover, without their constant scrutiny and reinforcement, comfort would have got the best of me.
I would have succumbed to the social anxiety of engaging total strangers, and simply dropped a class that wouldn’t transfer anyway. And for one semester, the urge won.
But sitting at the sideline as my peers continued their service to the campus became just as unnerving. No matter how plagued I was by cognitive dissonance, it was clear that the answer was not to avoid confrontation and dismiss the chance to inform readers and learn with each assignment.
I was learning to connect and empathize with real people in a way I had never known possible. Some abandoned bit of human sentience returned to me covering the issues and faces of CCC, and I have never felt so invested in my surroundings.
But each day my departure feels more and more certain and the sentiments of it all the heavier. My mulish resistance to change is numbing the reality, but this is really my final column as opinion editor of The Advocate, and the final deadline I will ever miss for Editor-in-Chief Sam Attal. It all feels so rushed.
And as I transfer to UC Berkeley in the fall, I cannot help wondering if my tenure here is really at its proper end. The experiences I will miss, the people with whom I will never cross paths and the sheer finitude of my journey here are already souring the transition that once could not come quickly enough.
But I will not be guilty of the same shortsighted pessimism that led me to discount the value of this eccentric little school.
It’s been real, CCC, but my farewell is just a testament to how much I have learned and how little I regret.