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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Defining Moments

The columnist is a story of contradiction. At once he must act as the interlocutor of opined reason and customized analysis, yet by the sheer necessity for argument, he must take a stand. At times, these demands conflict; for a columnist, thus, the attainment of a perfect balance is a lasting achievement. Writing is about eloquence magnified by personal ambition. In the beginning, the columnist sees privilege. Like a child, he’s afforded space and time to write whatever he desires. He is hence impressionable, wondrous, admiring the instant subject-connection he has established. The responsibility liberates as it is large. At this moment, the world with its inherent flaws seems raw and callow. Viewing this situation, the columnist is heightened with confidence, trusting his instincts, transfixed by the finality of his thoughts. He asserts order to a disordered world, proclaiming certainty to unpredictability. For him, his eyes have been opened by limitless possibilities. He is the master of his own destinyhe passionately knows everything and says anything. The world can be bent to his will. But then comes recognition. Initially, the columnist found the power refreshing, mutual. Slowly, he realizes that things weren’t as simple as he envisioned. He previously saw the world as a closed system with finite alternatives, but now notices that society, with its quirks and imperfections, is a fragile state of nature. They constantly evolve and revolt, never having any certainty but always having plenty of fluidity. The columnist no longer sees things the same way. With time comes appreciation. The grandest plays are defined by the smallest details. As the columnist accepts the circumstances, he now understands how elements combine, transform and reciprocate. He identifies their finer qualities, learns the overarching narrative and the geometric pattern that defines things. Now, the columnist masters. Through deliberate practice and constant writing, he expands his scope of both idealism and practicality. He learns to integrate the constraints of abstract play to the chaos that envelope the real world. Rather than merely dictating play, he now synchronizes them. Minds and hearts uniteat this moment, they are one. The columnist is no longer defined by the column, but has elevated it to a performance art. At its essence, the column is the potential for majesty and grandeur. The columnist has synthesized a desire for performance with the practicalities of reality. His goal is accomplished. He has attained the very best. Our ideals are our defining identities. Ideals convey a sense of belonging, a precept and belief in the capacity to achieve something truly meaningful. In life, sometimes we have no choice. We are often shaped by external circumstances, influenced and affected by what society demands from us. Choice becomes secondary. Despite these challenges, it is important to remain true to one’s identity, to maintain an unyielding, principled belief in the face of withering criticism, spreading debauchery and uninformed opinion. Remaining true to one’s intrinsic, fundamental principles that can define the whole world. There is an idealistic benefit of longevity. It is familiarity. With increasing identification comes assimilation, an intrinsic joy to operate within the framework that has been established. While longevity matters, equally important is the need to outreach. One must reach outside comfort to seek the unseen and to explore the unexpected. Life is a journey often displaced by other challenges: to shatter boundaries, to redefine paradigms. It must be tested again and again. For the past three years, the experience of writing as a columnist for The California Aggie has at once been exhilarating, unpredictable, joyful and satisfying. Personally, now is the time to finally move on, to try the other vagaries that life has to offer. As Tennyson mentioned, it is the time to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. Farewell, UC Davis. It’s time for a new journey!

It’s been a wonderful and exciting three years. ZACH HAN thanks you all from zklhan@ucdavis.edu for your readership, encouragement and e-mails; they were greatly motivating and sincerely touching. Thank you!


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