Taking My 40 Acres and a Mule

Ebony Turner, Opinion Editor

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It has been two years and too many newspaper issues to count, but the end is near for 40 Acres and a MacBook. Not just the end as we know it for the school year but the end forever.

I’m moving on to greener pastures, whether that pasture is filled with Nittany Lions, where the Fighting Tigers run wild or where Terrapins move about freely, it is time to move on to a more fulfilling path that falls in line with my – and this column’s – future. It has been a blessing to say the least having the chance to speak on such a forum for two years expressing opinions that my friends are much too tired of hearing. In exchange, I’ve gotten the opportunity to speak to a broader amount of people who – unlike my friends – don’t have to worry about hurting my feelings if they stop reading what I’m saying mid-sentence. Faculty, students and my family have all told me how great this column has been for this campus. Whether people liked what I said, disagreed or simply didn’t know what to make of it, they read it and that is all that has mattered to me.

It took some time for me to come to this decision to take my talents (thank you Lebron) to somewhere that was more fulfilling – especially since the final stretch is nearing for me. However, my educational and professional goals have changed. They are much too big, much too ambitious and require an infinite amount of happiness; happiness I have not been able to acquire at this institution. You know that feeling you get where no matter how hard you try to bring happiness into your situation it is never enough? Nothing motivates you to do better or maximize you potential if you feel there is nothing left to accomplish. That is not to be arrogant and say that I have done all I can in my college life – in fact, that is precisely why it is time for me to move on because I know I haven’t. I also know that what I want to experience isn’t here.

Pace has been good – well, Pace hasn’t been terrible. It also hasn’t been what I wanted since the second semester of my freshman year dawned on me and I realized that this was truly and will always be it. I have never been one to settle, stick out just to satisfy the myriad of quotes saying that toughing out undesirable situations build character. Sayings like that do not motivate me, especially if I know the undesirability in said situation isn’t something I can control. College is what you make of it, a quote we have all heard time and time before. But part of making something out of your college experience is having something to work with, and folks I ran out of resources.

What “sticking it out” truly builds is a tendency to not know when to say when. When it’s time to open your eyes and see that you deserve better elsewhere you face the undesirable with a codependent reaction of “maybe it will get better.” Then your senior year arrives and you have this overwhelming air of “this is it?” rather than “this is it…” The latter is a sigh of sadness that it is over and the former is an overwhelming sigh of disappointment. I don’t want to graduate wishing I experienced more, had more, felt more. I want to leave behind a legacy from a university that I respect, want my kids to attend and will want to experience again. When I talked with my godfather about his time at Penn State he tells me his college stories as if he was still there experiencing them as we’re speaking. A glare comes over his eyes as he tells me about his best friends, that he still speaks to even today, and their times going to parties and other stories I swore to secrecy.

He loved his alma mater and if he had the chance to go back, he would and he wouldn’t change a thing. Jay-Z once said 17 years ago that, “In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets,” but I’m not trying to survive, I’m trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot. That is what life is all about, not getting by but getting ahead and loving every moment so much you’ll want to live through it again.

I can’t say I feel that way here and in my on and upward motto I have assumed in this new year it is time to find a new home for me and this column. So long farewell to you my friends, goodbye for now until we meet again.

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