Graduating in 3 Years: An obligatory but welcome retrospective

Picture+by+Hunter+Taylor.

Picture by Hunter Taylor.

Jonah Dietz, Senior Reporter

On Dec. 11, 2021, Jonah Dietz will graduate from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing. It is highly probable that neither of these will come in handy in the “real world” and he has joked about this on multiple occasions. Deep down, however, it’s a worrying prospect. Despite this, the degree Dietz will hang on his wall someday will not be something that he regrets or feels like he wasted. In the three years it took to get that degree, Dietz went from a loosely defined person to a well-adapted, mature husband and contributing member of the human race. 

 

If college was life, that’d be my obituary, I guess. 

I will not take the stage and walk to receive my diploma. I will be in Germany, spending time with my family, who I have not seen since the summer of 2019. And while the prospect of foregoing a uselessly traditional ceremony appeals to my ego, the occasion of skipping a pointless milestone will most likely be as successful in dissuading inevitable existential dread from setting in when I am sixty as walking would have. That aside, the trip to Germany will prove eventful and rewarding. My family missed the wedding due to the pandemic, and the Dietz family is excited to meet their newest member.

Over the course of the last three years, I have met, dated and married my wonderful wife, Courtney, become the proud, first-time owner of a cat, written and published a few short stories, become, by definition, a professional journalist, even though it sounds more prestigious than it is, and been taught how to critically evaluate and dissect any and everything put in front of me, ultimately culminating in a complete and total reevaluation of my entire world-view and philosophy. I have been radicalized in the ways of life and love. I have grown to understand concepts the vitality of which I am ashamed I did not grasp sooner.

Part of that critical theory means I can not and will not be thanking the institution of WTAMU for this growth. I will, instead, and in line with my holistic view of the world, be thanking those that deserve it: My parents, who were privileged enough to afford me the privilege of education that, by virtue of it being a dystopian hellscape, America does not afford everyone. My wife, whose presence was dictated by fate but joyfully accepted as a blessing. My friends, who have given me chances despite me not deserving them. Finally, my professors, who taught me to the best of their abilities, but more importantly, to the best of their morals. All those listed have been amazing through this journey.

This small span of time is nothing and will ultimately be an embarrassingly minuscule piece of a larger whole just fifteen years from now. But the fact that, in just three years, I have become a better person, a smarter person, a more caring and thoughtful person, is incredible. It is what I’m thankful for, looking back. Yes, the degree is nice and it is gratefully accepted. But it’s the rewards earned along the way that make this a bittersweet moment in time. With any luck, I’ll be able to harness all this and do something so worthwhile, this will actually be read by someone outside of my immediate family. 

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