Senior Retrospective: Matt Stein

Since this is my senior retrospective and will be handed out during commencement, I should make a few things clear to my family first.

1. I’m bi. It’s not technically gay, so whenever you asked, I could categorically deny it. Sorry.

2. I was a member of Vassar’s Burlesque group this year and performed ‘Wonderwall’ on ukulele naked to 1/8 of the campus. No, I don’t plan on becoming a stripper.

Please don’t ask any follow-up questions after the ceremony. They don’t define me but I thought you should know. Thank you.

Now back to the retrospective. Other editors always appreciated my ledes to my articles so hopefully this will take a similar format.

My time with the Misc has been very representative of my time at Vassar: taking risks, learning from failures, dealing with stress late into the night and relating an experience with the waffle machine to “Moby Dick.”

I joined the paper on a whim my sophomore year after a difficult and particularly isolating first year that mainly consisted of me reading books in the library and disliking myself. Things hopefully have changed. I won’t forget how late

production nights could go or (for the most part) completing all of the crosswords. The Misc and I have had our issues in the past. Since sophomore year, I’ve had my resignation letter drafted in an email just in case. There have been high moments too, like the time I was cross-faded and hid from Security behind a door at one of the parties or when Features almost didn’t make it through another week and I had to write three articles so we’d have a full section. As for now, it feels like we’re ending on good terms.

Over the last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of taking on several roles within the Misc’s editorial board and, just like my experience at Vassar, it makes sense to end now. For every rose-colored memory nostalgia heightens as I look back at these last four years, there are also moments of pain and loneliness, when this was the last place I wanted to be or that I didn’t matter.

I’ve been writing this retrospective in between wishing all of my non-senior friends off. It’s painful. It hurts to say goodbye to friends who I trust and have made me become a better person. They’ve helped define this place for me and now I say goodbye without knowing the next

time we’ll meet. We will and I look forward to it. I am grateful for my time at the Misc and my time at Vassar. Roughly 85 articles later, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to interview so many people and serve the paper and the student theater community. It’s such a rewarding feeling to preview a show and promote the great art that exists on this campus and meet the great

artists that make it.

The road ahead is scary. Where I’ll be in a

week is as uncertain as where I’ll be in a year. But there’s something about taking chances and throwing oneself into this dark scary void we call the real world that makes me feel ready. You can’t achieve greatness if you’re not willing to fail. Don’t worry though. There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait.

Knowing that I’m graduating and that my time at Vassar is slim, it makes sense that there are regrets. There are people I wish I had become friends with. There are so many chances I failed to take. Even though I regret them, I hope I learn. As much as the focus of college is around academia, there’s so much outside of the textbook that I’ve learned. It’s okay to ask for help and feel

vulnerable. Don’t bring the drama just because there isn’t any. Listen, really listen, if someone’s willing to trust you. Nobody makes great art on their own. Good friendships are mutual. Some of the best opportunities are unplanned, so be open. Know when to say ‘sorry’ less and ‘thank you’ more.

On that note, I will conclude my rambling retrospective with a thank you to all I’ve met and had the pleasure of encountering. Thank you to the professors that encouraged me to pursue my goals instead of passively allowing them to pass by. Thank you to everyone who has willingly put up with me. This last year has been difficult to write for the Misc and I know it. Sorry for the trouble I’ve caused and I hope you will forgive me.

And to others on campus, whether you are reading this online afterwards or after graduation, I’m sorry if I hurt you. I don’t know why I have this profound sense of guilt, but I do. And this seems like the best space to say it. And thank you to those that listen. It’s a good quality to have and something I wish I did more. Hopefully I will.

 

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