Mason’s Maundered Musings: Happy to be here

Mason Schweizer, Opinion Editor

I’ve sat here staring at a blank screen for the longest 15 minutes of my life. Trying to develop some corny anecdote about finding yourself or something equally lame. The cliché year-ending sob stories about finding yourself is the vibe I wanted to go for.

But screw that, if it’s going to be forced it will suck, so instead, I’m just going to let my thoughts fill this column space.

F*** what other people think. Nobody is in charge of your life except yourself. Nobody benefits from your good or is punished for your bad the same level that you are, under any circumstance. I sat in class last week, and our teacher spoke about deviance. She questioned why people would wear a shirt with nudity or foul language on it. Why does it matter?

What you do, say and wear are self-expressions. Every day, I wear a bracelet that says “Happy As F***.” It’s MY happiness and MY wrist I cover with this bracelet, so why should YOU dictate how I choose to express myself?

Life doesn’t have to be that hard. When you stop living to validate others, thoughts and expectations, and start living to validate your own thoughts and expectations, things get much easier.

Before coming to WSC, I started my college career at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Days before the second semester of my sophomore year started, I learned that I was losing some of my financial aid, enough to make it impossible for me to keep going to school.

I didn’t tell my family for over a week. I tried buying time to figure out a solution. Not for myself, but so I wouldn’t have to disappoint my family by telling them I could no longer attend Illinois.

For almost two years, I sat at home, disappointed.

What did my old teachers think? What did my old classmates think? Here I was, sitting at home, while everyone else was pursuing degrees and enjoying college.

With the help of good friends, music and reading, I began to realize I was living my life to impress others more so than myself. I began making changes to satisfy myself, and eventually got back in school, spending a year at community college while putting together a new plan to get a journalism degree.

And then I came to Wayne. I was already 23 when I got here and had two years left. Here comes this old, long-haired, hippie-looking guy from Chicago who stuck out as much as the moon on a dark, clear night.

It was at Wayne that I learned what it meant to be a journalist. I knew I made the right decision the second my academic adviser, Dr. Max McElwain, called me to begin scheduling classes. We had about a 30-minute conversation on the phone, and I immediately knew Max was someone I would learn plenty from.

And I have learned plenty. Max has taught me to fight for your beliefs and to stand up for yourself, both through his actions last year that led to his bulls**t removal as our adviser, and through his life stories he intermittently gives during class. No single person has changed me for the better at WSC than Max.

His replacement has been a great source of knowledge and understanding as well. Eddie Elfers has taught me how to not only think independently, but share those thoughts, too. The patience he has shown throughout the year is something I can take with me as I leave.

Lastly, there are my wonderful friends I’ve met here. Being a few years older and coming in as an out-of-state transfer, I assumed I would have some conversations and the like with my peers here, but I never really thought I would create strong bonds with many, or any, fellow students.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong. I came here not knowing a soul, and am leaving Wayne America with a couple of handfuls of friends I hope to have for life.