By Miranda Wilder

I took a little trip once. I was a long way from UNH, but bear with me.

Through the greens and reds of club lights, robotic trees and distorted heads, I met this kid. He was 17 and some kind of guru, grown way too fast in a city of druggies and hoodlums, yet somehow he had found peace.

I was going through a lot. The most I’d been through in my life, maybe. But standing there, in the shoddy, pouring streets, I realized something: The people we meet that stay, the people we meet that go, every single person that touches our lives in one way or another, never really leaves.

This one isn’t about me.

Losing touch with reality, kicking and screaming about a world that didn’t and still doesn’t make sense, Calum told me this word.

He said whenever I got scared, or forgot where I was physically grounded, or forgot that my place in life is only subjective, or missed the people that matter most–he said just close your eyes and say this word. The exact word doesn’t matter now. Everyone and everything that has ever happened to you is still there.

Like I said, this one isn’t about me. It’s about you, constant reader.

And all the people that have influenced my words, my work; writing, as little as I’d like to admit, has always been there for me. So in a sense, when I get lonely, dear reader, it is you that keeps me company.

I tend not to keep things short, and there doesn’t really seem to be a moral to this story.

But there is, and it’s this: four years ago I entered this university with no notion of who I would become, no gods-eye perspective of the world, and little sense of what it truly means to be alive.

Four years later, through philosophy and journalism, I have both come to better and worse terms with the fact of my existence, the ups and downs, the grey areas of morality.

I’ve dealt with people; I’ve studied them. I’ve looked at the concepts behind what makes the heart at the inner core of humanity beat.

This is my simple thanks for every moment, person and experience that got me to this point.

That’s not to say I didn’t do all the fun kid stuff, too: parties; first apartments; love; death; procrastination; acceptance; persistence; endurance; drugs; rejection; A’s and C’s; mistakes and admitting them. Meeting people, working with people, loving people–if you’re reading this, yes, I am talking about you.

A lot of things have either faded or exploded out of my life. I’m having a hard time deciding which method I prefer. But today is different–I can articulate my goodbye in writing. It’s graduation day, caps off, gowns on, and thanks are duly necessary:

Sandy Marsters–you got me to believe in myself, the first time I hit the ground face first. I saw a lot more gore after you left, but I have never regretted nor stumbled over my talents since you gave me that A.

And Meg Heckman, you definitely took the butt-end of my frustration with myself and hardly even flinched. I will never hesitate to remember you as one of the first influential journalists in my life, as I hope you remember me as one of your first students.

Paul McNamara–My adviser, but at this point I’d like to consider you more of a friend. You convinced me I had a knack for philosophy several years ago, and I can’t say whether you were right but no other department has ever felt more like family.

And to The New Hampshire, but more importantly the people behind the printed words, all of my professors, everyone I have crossed paths with these past four years, whether you caught me on a good or bad day: Thank you for putting up with me.

I still like to say the word I learned on that now distant trip; I won’t tell you exactly, because it’s not my word to tell. It just means connection, and without human connection I wouldn’t have anyone to express my gratitude to.

I did college, for better or worse. But I don’t think, dear reader, you’ve seen the last of me. As long as you exist, I will write for you.

Love always,

Randi