Post Classifieds

Column: I'm not ready

By Matt Stypulkoski
On April 29, 2014

Since the summer, this column has loomed.
Over the past 10 months I've been thinking about what to tell you, the reader, in this, my graceful farewell. I've been weaving thoughts in my mind during car rides, walks and any idle time.
To summarize four years in 1,000 words or less is the ultimate test of brevity. To try and lay out a bevy of stories, to try and thank a myriad of people, to try and tie a neat little bow on an epic era of life is all too daunting a task.
All I've wanted for these past 10 months of jumbled thoughts is to come up with the perfect line, a nice little nugget to place at the bottom - a cherry on top of the perfect final column - something deep and profound to show my depth. Everyone wants to go out with a bang - I wanted to drop the microphone and some knowledge, and then walk off into the sunset.
But now, when the time has come, despite all the planning, I've found this to be the most difficult thing I've ever had to write.
I've copied and pasted. I've deleted and rewritten. I've crossed out pages and started from scratch.
My last four years have been dedicated to finding a thought and picking the right words, but now, at perhaps the most important time for them to surface, I have none.
Or maybe the problem is I have too many.
I've too many thoughts, too many people and too many memories. Too much love for this place.
Writing this column is an admission of the end, and not one that I'm ready to make. In fact, it's been one that I've actively tried to avoid.
I have always been averse to change, never one to handle life's transitions smoothly. When I was younger, I cried when my parents bought me a new, bigger bed. I still cringe at things as simple as repainting the walls. I didn't take the switch to from bluebird to sapphireberry very well.
For months, I've dodged conversations about the future, tiptoed around the ensuing job hunt and deflected thoughts of graduation with a series of jokes. My crippling fear has led me to dread this final column, these final weeks and that final day.
But my lack of readiness has nothing to do with my preparedness. UConn has me more than prepared for life after college, life on my own, life in the real world - I'm sure of it.
No, my lack of readiness has everything to do with my luckiness.
How lucky I've been to have this job, to be paid to write about sports, travel around the country and watch history unfold feet in front of me.
How lucky I've been to attend this school. To learn, to live, to experience all it had to offer.
How lucky I've been to meet such incredible people while I was here.
In one of my now trash-can relegated drafts, I planned on sharing a list of memories, telling a basic bullet point of highlights throughout the past four years. But that just doesn't seem to do my final words in this space justice.
Maybe that's because life is more than just the highlights, it's about all the little moments that build to them.
So instead, I'll tell you about a group of people.
These are the people that I shared those little moments with.
And how those people made this campus feel like home.
And how, because of them, I love this school with all I have.
And how, because of them, I've enjoyed every single day.
And how, because of them, I'm not ready to leave just yet.
This group of people is large. In fact, it's pretty all encompassing.
It includes you, the reader, for making this job what it is. I couldn't have done it without you. I enjoyed every email, every tweet, every single time I saw someone pick up a copy. I can't begin to express how grateful I am for you. You make what I do fun, and for that, I thank you.
It includes everyone I've ever spoken to, ever bumped in the hall or smiled at while I walked by. It was the collective spirit of the people in Storrs that made this such a special home for the past four years.
It includes every professor that's ever crossed my path. It was their ability to share, to push and to teach that has left me prepared to enter what is without question the most terrifying stage of my life to this point. Without the wisdom that they have imparted and the skills they have passed along, I wouldn't feel so secure in my ability to make it.
But most importantly, it includes my friends. It was your ability to make me laugh, make me smile, that made this impending end so hard to accept. No memory - no party, no road-trip, no national championship (or a handful) - would have meant a thing without you around me to share it with. Every conversation, every trip to the bar, every shift at work was better because you were there.
These four years have been a life-altering era for us all. Not a single one among us will leave the same as we first arrived. Come May 11, I have no doubt I'll leave as a better man than the freshly 18-year-old version of me that moved in on that sunny August day. We have been shaped by each other, our experiences and all we've learned together. I wouldn't have wanted to share it with anyone else.
Because of you, my friends, I'm not ready to leave just yet. So thank you, for everything.
I guess now it's time for a change. 

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