Senior column: Just three clicks, er, I mean weeks

Katie Carlson

I have spent the past four and half years anticipating this moment – and no, I don’t mean graduating. Ever since I started working for the Stater in the spring of 2005, I have been on the edge of my seat, wondering what I’m going to write about in my senior column.

Here I am, and I’m still not sure how it will turn out. I’m not one of the reporters, and I’m not one of the big editors. My name is rarely plastered anywhere on the paper, and if it is, it’s very small – and I am fine with that. I’d rather be one of the kids in the background.

I’ve been working as a page designer here for the past nine semesters – count ’em, nine. I’ve also never really moved up the ladder. Out of everyone I worked and currently work with, I’m the only person who’s essentially stayed static. I have achieved the status of the kid who might never leave, or the grandpa who constantly bombards the children with “back in my day” stories.

Sometimes I’ve regretted it, and other times I couldn’t be happier. Some people look at not moving up as a failure. I saw it that way for a long time. But now, I’m seeing it as a godsend.

Every semester I’ve been through some kind of hardship. Whether it was struggling to find myself in a major that doesn’t know or seem to care who I am, being faced with real family situations I thought only existed in Lifetime movies or losing one of my best friends to suicide, these were things I never anticipated happening.

I look back at the past five years, and every year I thought this column would end up being something different. But someone famous somewhere said sometimes “you can’t see the forest through the trees,” and I can’t think of a better way to sum it up.

All those times I wished I could disappear, there was always something there to keep me from falling – something that made me want to reappear. Something that has helped me grin and bear it, and that something is my friends.

All my life I’ve been a “Wizard of Oz” buff. Since I was 6, I have loved that movie to death; I’ve memorized every word and dreamed of being Dorothy Gale. It’s only now that I see I have been all along.

I have a Glenda, a Scarecrow, a Cowardly Lion and a Tin Man, and I stumbled upon all of them right here, on this yellow-bricked campus. My Glenda isn’t really a witch, and my Scarecrow definitely has brains. My Cowardly Lion isn’t cowardly in the least bit; she’s someone to reckon with. And my Tin Man has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen on a guy. And here I am, about to float away with the Wizard who will take me home, my fiancé Paul.

If it weren’t for my friends I might not have made it through these past five years, and if I had let the Stater consume my life any further, these friendships wouldn’t have stayed as strong. I wouldn’t be the Dorothy I am now. I never thought I’d find friends this strong anywhere. I am so grateful for them, and I am taking them with me in my heart when I leave.

Katie Carlson is a senior applied communication major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.