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May 5, 2014

Lessons learned from Clarkie of the Week, and why you should ignore them

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I saw a Facebook status this morning that made me really happy. It was from a graduating senior who was disappointed that she was never named Clarkie of the Week.

Now, her disappointment doesn’t make me happy. But it’s really exciting to know that Clarkie of the Week is something that’s become a fully integrated part of our campus community, the kind of thing that people complain about.

Two years ago, Claire, one of the other editors on the newspaper, had the idea to highlight some of Clark’s characters so people could get to know their fellow students. The idea was to attribute names and stories to Unicycle Kid, Handstand Guy, etc. Eventually, Clarkie of the Week became a venue to highlight some of the people who have the biggest impact on campus: club presidents, campus celebrities, and Tony, who makes the pizza in the cafeteria (read his interview. It’s delightful.)

But Clarkie of the Week is now sort of Claire’s mark on campus. It is a thing she created that will outlast her time here. I’m excited to continue this tradition that people apparently care about very much.

For me, Clarkie of the Week has always just been another thing we do. It goes in the back of the News section, behind the Real News, as something that just buffs up our page count a little bit every week. It’s fun, and I like reading it, but it was never really a serious thing. Apparently, I was wrong about that.

I’m working on a list of things I want to do next year in each sector of my collegiate life. Ways to improve my work habits, my newspapering, my tours, my blog posts(!), my music groups, and my relationships with my friends.

The thing I’m trying to do with these goals is to keep them concrete. Things like “spend more time picking people for Clarkie of the Week” and “practice the bass at least an hour a week” and “make sure you spend more time with so-and-so because you didn’t do that last semester and it was sad” are easy to monitor.

I don’t recommend this tactic for you.

The reason I should do this is because I have a good idea of where I am. Things are pretty set. I have a major and student organizations to worry about. For my senior year, I’m going to do my best at the things (and with the friends) that have come to define my time at Clark.

You, though, have a totally clean slate. You don’t have a major (even if you think you do, you might end up doing something totally different), or commitments to clubs, or anything like that. I only found myself in the situation I’m in now by keeping an open mind and doing my best at some things which were pretty unfamiliar. That’s what you should do. No goals, no expectations. Just do stuff and have fun.

You may have noticed by the tone of every other diarist who’s posted recently that things are coming to a close ’round here. I suppose this counts as my End Of Year Post, but I don’t feel a need to make it conclusive. It’s possible that it’s because I’m studying abroad, but I’m more so looking forward than I am looking back. Senior year is going to be very good. So will the summer. So instead of saying goodbye to this year, I’d rather say that I’m excited to see you all on campus come August. Come say hi. I’ll be the one throwing newspapers at you.

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