The Dude Abides: “Did you ever go to College?”

Opinion by Zack Warma
Jan. 4, 2010, 12:51 p.m.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day, To-morrow will be dying.

Damnit all to hell, Bobby Herrick, you sure write purdy. As I sit in my room after watching the most recent episode of “Jersey Shore” (best show…ever?) with my sister, a mere eight hours away from my drive up to the Farm, I find myself looking back on what has been, and eyeing the now fast-developing year.

The entire concept of new year’s resolutions, of squaring upon a single windmill or two to fruitlessly charge, much less toss aside by second week of February, is simply a waste of time. But what the annual playing of “Auld Lang Syne” (amazing lyrics, by the way–Robert Burns was down to rage) does instigate it a much-needed period of contemplation and reflection, which we as insanely busy characters never spare enough time to do well.

Predicted by some to begin with global mayhem, the 2000s wrapped up for me in a Sooners-filled Howard Johnson motel room in El Paso, Texas, literally a mile and half away from scenic Juarez, Mexico, and right across the street from the classiest of establishments, the Prince Machiavelli Lounge. An unexpected, but nonetheless fitting (question mark???) end to a long, strange trip of a decade.

Like many of you, the ‘00s encapsulated my adolescence and over half of my eventual (knock on wood) undergraduate career, among so many other strange and wonderful and painful events that no college paper column could ever do even a shred of justice.

But there is absolutely no need to devote yet another column to looking back at what transpired in 2009, because “The Dude Abides” has been for 10 months now just that, a semi-coherent record of bygone insanity. Rather, even in spite of my history major obsession with the past, I find the focus being directed toward 2010 and beyond.

As a junior, there are casts of thousands of my classmates and friends returning from all corners of the globe after spending the fall immersed in either a Bing Overseas Drinking…er, Studies campus or some other study abroad program. There exists within the ranks of my esteemed class a creeping realization of the transiency that marks our time at the Stan. The graduation of many dear friends in 2009 proved to me what many of my friends who were formerly abroad are now experiencing: the Farm goes on without you, and almost as if you never were here at all.

This will be my last hurrah on the Farm for this school year. I am getting a chance to hightail to D.C. for the Stanford in Washington program during spring, which I am all a-titter about. But as of March 19, what stands between me and the Real World are only three debauched quarters of frolicking among the palm fronds in this sandstone-lined Xanadu (the Samuel Coleridge one, not the house. I have already come clean about my love of the Upper Row). I am neither regretful of my past quarters nor fearful of the future, but this ever-narrowing window of time does force me to pause a bit.

The fact that a winter-quarter junior is getting antsy in the pantsy by the prospect of his final departure from the House That Leland Built is of absolutely no consequence or relevance, much less a new development in the greater history of Stanford students clinging dearly to the University. Not to worry–I got the memo. However, when mulling the undoubted absurdity that will consume my 2010, wherever I may be, the importance of time stands out starkly.

The clock is quite clearly ticking away on my Stanford experience, and having largely found a wonderful little realm (a Warmdom, perhaps?) within the Farm after two-plus years of searching and stumbling, I intend to do everything in my power to see that my remaining days and months are filled with what I actually want to be doing.

All of us at Stanford have our lives to some degree punctuated with inane crap, some of it necessary, but most of it not. We take classes for the simple sake we see others doing the same. We tepidly continue in student groups that have burned us out. Too frequently, we live by standards and ideals laid down by forces other than ourselves.

Fuck ‘em, I say. If it’s starting a student group, pursuing an internship/cute internist, or just planning a gnarly wine social, for god’s sake, do it. Our time is too precious here to be wasted on trifling nonsense. Like this column, for instance. Happy 2010, folks.

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