Opinion: Mission Hundred Days: Day 75

By Connor Rosenecker

Opinion Contributor

So my supposition is that we’re on like 75 days remaining now? Well, if that’s the case, 100 days was a full 25 days ago already (seems like it was 25 minutes), and we seniors have only three more turns of those 25 minute-seeming segments left. For all of you, who’re enthralled in the last of your required classes, your theses, internships, clubs, jobs, grad school searches, and planning for next year, perhaps my thoughts will resonate with you, or cause you to tremble in bewilderment, to pause, reflect, and resolve yourself.

I will never forget a speech Dr. Beth Gill, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, gave to my Alpha Sigma Nu induction class in Spring 2017. The phrase that still echoes in the rafters of my mind, throughout the halls and in my classes, at weekend gatherings and sporting events, in meetings and while working in the library, goes something like this: “If you spend too much time focusing on the ‘then’ (the future), you forget to enjoy and appreciate the grace of the ‘now’.” Embarking on the remainder of YOUR time, whether reading this message as an undergraduate senior or not, is there a more prescient idea to dwell on?  

My past four years, and I’m estimating many of yours too, can be characterized in one word: timeless. “How? Why?” one may ask. Timeless, in the sense that I was never able to attend all the on-campus functions with abundant free food. Timeless, in that there were never enough opportunities to chat with Matt Kochan in the library or with our animate Chartwell’s dining staff. I’ll graduate after my four years this May with 178 credit hours, but, still, timeless in that I couldn’t take all the classes I would have liked to. Timeless, as we reflect on how we were torn from family functions and friend gatherings as we dealt with the toils of an exam week, or a sporting season, or planned for a club event. Timeless, as our text conversations before bed always ended too late, and our alarm clocks went off too early. Timeless, as we faced frustrating issues affecting our campus, experienced at a national level, and never felt like we could have done enough. Timeless; not being able to spend enough time with our dear friends and professors before having to abruptly say goodbye without recourse. Timeless, as we flew through a Kairos weekend, an awards ceremony, a guest-speaker, a musical performance, a big match, a dinner, practice, rehearsal, birthday party, parade, protest, exam, an interaction with someone. Timeless… as we near the terminus of a four-year epoch, which has seemed prolonged up until just now, where, in years past, we always had another year to come and another certainty for what’s ahead, but now our time has run out. Dare I say that in each of these instances, we were focusing too much on the “then” and not appreciating the grace of the “now”?

So, my challenge to you seniors, and anyone else following along, is this: to give every moment at Canisius College as much energy as you can – not “like it’s your last,” but because IT IS your last! Every “now” that you have is the last “now” that it will ever be, before it becomes something that you can no longer change, no longer be impacted by, no longer impact others by.

In this way, my Canisius experience still remains: timeless. Again, “how?” or “why?” you may ask. Timeless, in that every hurdle we have left to conquer before we graduate, if appreciated for what it is, makes us stronger and better for days to come! Timeless, in that every obligation we must attend to, while sometimes daunting, leaves us regretting much less going forward. Timeless, as every interaction that we engage in should be given all of our immediate momentary attention, so that our memories never wither as we grow old. Timeless, as we never get caught up in what’s to come tomorrow, so as to only pass over what’s today. Timeless, as we ought to pause, reflect, resolve ourselves, and realize that our reverence for our “now” will let our Canisius experience become that which transcends over time, forever, and remains true to us, forever.

I find great solace in that well-known Dylan Thomas poem. It reads as follows:

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

 

As we enter these last few weeks, rage against the dying of our light! Remember to appreciate your “now.” And know that YOU are my pause, YOU are my reflection, YOU are my resolve. Thank you, seniors, for all that you have done for me, and all that you have done for this place. Forever, shall our spirits call Canisius our home!

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