May 1, 2001

A Montage of Memories

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Four years ago I promised my father that we would watch The Graduate together on graduation day. In a month from now, our rendezvous in front of the television will become a fulfilled promise.

As my college days seem to slide by my fingertips too quickly, I now understand the fragile nature of the proverbial question explored in The Graduate of “what are your plans after you graduate?” — the question for which some have answers and others are still searching. Either way, there is no escaping the fact that we, the Class of 2001, are now the graduating class being asked, after perpetually thinking that our time to graduate is far from now.

But what makes the question easier to answer is that regardless of what the future holds, there is a storage of memories consisting of uncharted territory we explored, new perspectives we gained and experiences we partook in. As a departing senior, I could think of no better way to give my parting words than to bestow a written rendition of my personal, “One Shining Moment.”

Though this year’s NCAA tournament-culminating song accompanied the visual montage of the ceremonial net cutting, eye opening dunks and game winning shots, my collage montage would unfortunately include none of the sort.

With David Barret’s “One Shining Moment” song supplementing the video, I foresee my “dunk-less” montage airing directly following the graduation ceremony in Schoellkopf.

On a jumbotron hanging from a blimp hovering above the football field, the song commences with me sitting on the edge of my Lynah section G freshman year seat, waiting to bow reverently to goaltending great Jason Elliot as he stifles another Harvard skater. From the arena seats, I gather my hockey gear and skate on the playing ice to help my fraternity win a heated intramural match.

From the frozen pond, I move to the pool to compete in an absurd inner-tube water polo match, flailing loose balls only to be restrained by my own buoyancy assistant.

After a couple more minutes of melodrama, the montage finishes with a panoramic view of Cornell, with me standing on the tip of McGraw tower holding a pumpkin with of course a goalie’s mask on my head concealing my “gotchya” smile. Please try and hold back the tears — or the laughter for that matter.

All right so there will be no jumbotron airing and I was not the architectural genius who placed the pumpkin on the top of McGraw tower. But there were so many other remembrances of donning Carnelian attire and cheering for our alma mater that not even a jumbotron will be able to unveil the complete meaning behind any departing senior’s college experience.

Our last few weeks are comparable to the last two minutes of the NCAA championship game. The timeouts at the end of the game are our chance to pause our four-year escapade and to savor our final moments at Cornell. And as the last seconds tick away, our personal “One Shining Moment,” montage begins to air for all of our friends and family to relish.

Except our montage does not only last for three minutes following the game, but is stretched out for a lifetime to appreciate.

Archived article by Jason Skolnik