This week started the same as every other. The inevitable traipse down the hall of my apartment, the soft rap on my roommate’s door and my whining voice saying, “Emilyyyyy, I have no idea what I’m going to write for my column this week.“
As surprising as this may sound, I am not the most creative person in the world, nor am I the most interesting. Shocking, right? In fact, I ran out of ideas about halfway through fall quarter. That is why this column was such a learning experience for me. Not only was I forced to write an entire column every week (upon penalty of people being really mad at me), but it had to be decent enough that I wouldn’t be bombarded with e-mails from people telling me what a butthead I am. Although, I’m pretty sure college students would have used different, slightly harsher language.
This led me down some interesting avenues as I experienced different things. Basically, I just ended up experimenting, which led to some new realizations. Not like that you dirty, dirty people. I swear, I will never escape, “That’s what she said.“
For example, I learned that gun-lovers really can’t take a joke, and that after spending a few weeks with first graders, I wanted to incorporate stories of them into every column. Fortunately, I realized that it might get a little old if Play-Doh and nose picking were mentioned in The California Aggie every week. I also learned that if you mention how your Uncle John shoved your face into your mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving when you were six, that same uncle will tease you lovingly, but relentlessly throughout that year’s entire holiday season. And, of course, I learned that despite your best intentions, if you write about someone in your column they may completely misinterpret it and throw a hissy fit.
But, overall, it was a really positive experience. I got a couple of complimentary e-mails out of the whole thing. Once someone even recognized me in the MU and told me he liked my column. (Thanks, guy, you totally made my week!) I also got to draw on my own face, a dream from when I was younger and I used to doodle on those realtor notepads. And, of course, when a well-known columnist for the Los Angeles Times compares you to Jane Fonda, the world just seems like a sunnier place.
I’ve got to tell you, I’m sad it’s over. On my list of things to accomplish that I made before I came to college, this was basically the only one that got done. Join an a cappella group (too tone-deaf), get involved with student government (too much drama), go to the gym every day (too lazy), write for college newspaper (check). This was my attempt to broaden my college experience and contribute to my campus. Now it’s done. I know people say that once something is in print it won’t be forgotten. But let’s be honest, who’s going to pick up a back issue of The Aggie a year from now and go, “Oh, that Danielle Ramirez, she sure could tell a mediocre joke.”
But thank you for listening to me complain, rant and rave about various things that, in all probability, had nothing to do with you. Thanks for putting up with my bad jokes and my unwavering love of the Davis ducks. And thanks for actually caring enough to read my little column. Even if this is your first time picking up the newspaper in three years, I truly appreciate that you made it to the end with me.
DANIELLE RAMIREZ hopes you enjoyed this experience as much as she did. To tell her you’re sad to see her go, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, keep your comments to yourself. At the end of the year, it’s no longer “constructive criticism,” it’s just plain mean.