Fishin’ With Jon: Reflective acknowledgements in the violet hour at MCLA

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Almost all The Beacon’s editorial board is graduating in two weeks, including myself. There’s nothing particularly significant about this: it happens every year, sometimes twice. Any individual or specific importance that I represent as a columnist for the paper will, hopefully, be replicated by an equal-or-greater future columnist. That’s the routine, and it’s a good thing.

I’m grateful for all my experiences at MCLA and I could—and have—written essays about it. I will spare the sentimentalities and instead acknowledge some of the truly wonderful little particulars about the school that I recommend everyone indulge.

MCLA Literatures Do you know how many publications we put out? You might not. Of course there’s The Beacon, but there’s “Spires,” MCLA’s Literary Journal and “Mind’s Eye,” MCLA’s Faculty Journal. There’s “Thesis XII,” the Philosophy Journal. You may not necessarily know about all these things…but you should. There’s endless content to explore and appreciate.

Studying Geography Cliché, right? Graduating senior says dogmatically: “oh man, you have no idea how to study…here’s the place to go, trust me.” Anyway, listen: you have no idea how to study…here’s the place to go, trust me. You know that little room on the third floor of Bowman, right at the top of the stairs? You’ve probably walked by it a million times…it seems innocuous, but it is the perfect place to write essays. It’s tiny, but perfect temperature. Nice view, not too much to distract you because it’s obscured a little, but enough that you don’t feel trapped, like the basement of the library or something. It has a whiteboard that’s nice if you’re into that.

Also, gotta give a shout-out to Murdock 119. Anyone who is familiar with 119 will be furious that I am letting out a well-kept secret: this is a fantastic place to study. It’s the third computer lab in Murdock, tucked away in the corner. It’s almost always empty, has a printer, and easy access to everywhere else on campus when you need a break for food or a class or something.

Living-off Campus Self-explanatory really. I think the relationship between RPS and the student body in regard to housing requirements has become entirely insidious. RPS has unfortunately configured itself into a leech, refusing to release their bladed jaws from sucking the funds of students into the pharynx of housing fees. If you think that sounds dramatic, you should look back at the last two semesters of Beacon articles regarding the dozens of students who had every right to void their housing contract and were forced to maintain it, typically for a litigious reason. I sympathize with the fact that the college needs housing revenue to stay afloat. But as a journalist, when you hear the stories from specific students and their hardships, you begin to realize that it’s not very clear. If all goes well, The Beacon will continue to cover this aggressively in the coming years.

Williams So damn, we really don’t like to talk about this one, do we? Did you know as an MCLA student you can audit any class you want at Williams College, so long as it is not offered here? For FREE. I know we like to pretend that Williams College isn’t right there, so we don’t have to live in their enormous shadow, but there’s no reason not to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that are quite literally, right there.

ARAMARK Employees I’m not going to rag on ARAMARK, because: it’s been said. Furthermore, if the board of trustees genuinely cared about student opinion about these matters, the ARAMARK contract would not have been renewed, would it? Sucks to suck, aristocrats.

Bureaucracy aside, I have been very touched by the kindness of some of the folks who work in the cafe. The ladies at the Trailblazer Café are always a delight, no matter how bad of a day it is. I’ve had some really rough days, and they’ve cheered me up with their optimism and treating each student like a person. The ARAMARK staff too—notably Anne who is my favorite, has always made dining at the cafe a way more personable experience. These kind of relationships may not matter to everyone, but they matter to me and I am very thankful to have known these lovely people.

I said my first semester here that the thing I’ve always liked most about MCLA was every once and a while, there’s this feeling of real harmony on campus. Even in such tumultuous and divisive times…it does happen occasionally. I have noticed it and will remember it.