A year – in review- to be proud of

by Jack Sawyers

It is with a somewhat-sad and heavy heart that I write this, my final column as a Simpsonian writer, on a once-again-beautiful Friday afternoon when I could easily be outside enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, I’m a horrible procrastinator, always have been and probably always will be.

Truly, though, this entire year has been one terrific ego trip for me. I love hearing from readers, especially when it’s praise for Mark’s or my work. We take a somewhat limited pride in being the clearly biased, non-diverse voice of ourselves and our white male minority here at Simpson. It’s what we do.

For my final entry in what has become an emotional vent for me over the course of the past two semesters, I wanted to do something special. The only problem was, I’ve been called “special” so frequently lately as a cryptic replacement for “retarded” that I balked at the idea of doing anything special at all.

So I went back to the future and thought about what I’d loved and hated about Simpson College this year and decided to do a typically cheesy, occasionally emotional, but entirely predictable year-in-review.


Now why in the hell would I do a “special” thing like that?

What I will tell you is this – for some reason, Simpson College became a whole heaping ton of fun this year. Since I lamented early last fall the ghost-town air that invaded campus every Friday, I’ve noticed a dominant majority of students are actually sticking around for a little weekend debauchery. I’m not trying to take credit for it – the six people who read that column transferred at semester – but it’s so very exciting to see a suitcase college unpack once in a while.

Personally, I credit the insightful minds behind Stormy Nights for the shift, as their $2 movies and sponsorship of Signature’s karaoke night has made a big impact with the massive student body which is still unable to sip from Indianola’s wildest watering hole.

Speaking of the Zoo – in typical fashion, the biggest attraction to college town tourists is still Thirsty Thursday. It never ceases to amaze me how, logistically, a bar with such small bathrooms can serve so much booze and not end up with a cesspool on the floor – as if you could tell if there was an entire sewage lagoon underneath that filthy bar carpet. It’s enough to make a guy sick enough to skip Friday classes.

Which, speaking of skipping classes, reminds me of another important point. If a professor is going to grade on attendance, it ought to be in the syllabus. If they’re not going to include that on the guidelines, and plan on standing in front of the class and paraphrasing the textbook, then they really have no business expecting anyone to attend their class. It’s a time/benefit thing.

So then, when they take it on themselves to ridicule and judge students because of a marked disinterest in hearing the reading assignment bleated at them amidst verbal barbs and general insults to their intelligence, the professor may be missing the point.

The point is no one pays $25,000 a year to come here and be insulted. We don’t pay to be judged. We pay to learn, if it suits us, but above all else, we pay because eventually those dollars will get us a little slip of paper that says we were able to endure four or five years of seemingly pointless class work while amassing a mound of debt and still have enough foresight to not drop out. We pay to become good conversationalists, not trained workers. There are far more effective motivational tools available to a professor than coercion – like formulating interesting class sessions to encourage attendance.

All aside, however, the general feel I have gotten from campus this year has been fantastic. You are all terrific (except you – you suck) and I will see plenty of many of you in the coming weeks of May Term.

Roll on little doggies. Roll on.