May 8, 2016

DOOLITTLE | This is the End, My Only Friend, The End

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Well, here we are. It’s been quite the ride, hasn’t it?

To be quite honest, I don’t even know what to say. I’ve read countless farewell columns in my four years of reading, writing for and editing the Arts section of The Sun. Everything worth saying has been said, and more eloquently, by a talented stable of friends and writers that I should have gotten to know better. Sorry about that. I can’t say that you missed much. So it goes.

I don’t measure my time at Cornell in GPA or prelims taken or parties attended or daylights or sunsets or midnights or cups of coffee. I remember the plays I’ve attended, movies I’ve seen, alone, at Cinemapolis on a winter’s afternoon and hours spent watching Game of Thrones (at least 200). I remember the people who have moved me with their art, the writers who have shared the things that moved them, the sprawling conversations on Kiarostami and Breaking Bad and R.E.M. What do you remember? I encourage you to share these memories with your friends and acquaintances in the coming weeks, senior or no. It’s all we really have at moments such as this.

Last semester, I got mad as hell and wrote a column about the state of the arts at Cornell. In general, I was met with a generous outpouring of support from friends, family and people that I never even knew existed until they made themselves known. And yet, as much as my ego hates to admit, I don’t think anything’s changed. There hasn’t been any widespread movement on campus, no #FeelTheArts or anything like that. Most people never even read the article, let alone took it to heart; in the immortal words of one Daily Sun commenter, “Stop being pretentious.” In those of another, “Hold deez nuts.” Truer words have yet to be uttered.

I’m not mad as hell anymore. Now it’s your turn. Now, I charge once more unto the breach of The Real World, beating on, boats against the current of bad literary references and arts appreciation. We’ve got it easier, better, here in our Ithaca, than out There. Where else are we surrounded by the beauty of thought and creation, bolstered by our peers of equal brilliance? It’s frightening to leave, knowing I’ll never have accomplished anything of real meaning while I was here, and especially knowing I’ll never accomplish anything Elsewhere. If only I had started sooner.

If you find yourself once again at Cornell next semester, I’d once again encourage you to do everything you can to make yourself happy. Truly, unabashedly happy. It took me far too long to realize that. I won’t repeat my old column. Read if you care to; I hear it wasn’t so bad. I’m looking to the future now, when opportunities to experience real art are few and far between. I’ve settled on looking toward a career in the theatre — selling out in marketing, not acting — so that I can continue to tangentially contribute to arts and culture for as many people as possible. I hope many of you choose to follow similar career paths with integrity, doing something you’re passionate about. We need more enthusiastic people doing what they love, and not taking the path of least resistance toward a future of guaranteed success. I don’t intend on or expect to make much money, but I think being happy will be enough. Look me up in a few years, maybe I’ll be able to get you some tickets to Hamilton.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one name in my retrospection. To my dearest comma Kaitlyn (Tiffany ’15), my greatest teacher and partner, thank you for not thinking I was a total weirdo when I awkwardly hid from you in The Daily Sun offices on our first day of work. I was worried you wouldn’t like me then. I don’t worry about that anymore. I can’t wait to join you in the big city and pretend to be an adult with you. It should be pretty tight.

Farewell, my brave hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea, comes the end of our fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.

Sean Doolittle is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at spd64@cornell.edu. Pulp FictSean appeared alternate Mondays this semester. This is its last iteration.

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