Alright, folks welcome to the earliest (and last) draft of The Micah Coleman Campbell Field Guide to the Logger Life! Now that I’m moving on from Puget Sound, I’ve been getting all nostalgic and spent some time reflecting on the last six years. I’ve been thinking especially about what I’ve learned. Some of what I learned were discoveries I made more or less on my own, but the majority of the lessons which stick with me today were passed down to me from someone else, be it a friend, family member, or famous person. In the hopes that one or two of the ideas which affected me most and might similarly affect someone else, I put together a list of those things which can be shared in bite-sized portions in no particular order below. I realize precisely no one asked for this from me, but I was asked to write something for the blog and this is the best I could come up with.
Try to avoid any living situation in which you are the person who can handle mess the least. You will hate living there and everyone else will hate that you live there too.
On the classroom:
Take a class that focuses on one or many aspects of identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, class, nationality, age, physical ability, religion) before spring semester senior year. I was thoroughly uninterested in the topic until I accidentally took a class in which that’s all we talked about (Film Culture) and now maybe the thing I regret the most about my undergraduate career is that I didn’t study any of that stuff until the tail end (and considering all the regretful things I did, that’s saying a lot). Just trust me, the space to learn and talk about this stuff is invaluable, whatever your major may be.
On the classroom *Bonus*:
Use the pass/fail option liberally. It’ll free you up to focus on harder classes and to take classes outside your comfort zone which you might not otherwise take for fear of hurting your GPA.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” –Ira Glass
Give yourself a free pass to look stupid. If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a spiked mohawk, if you secretly love sweater vests, if you can’t get enough of the black pants / brown socks combination, or if you’re tempted to sport any other bold fashion choice, go for it. The world gives college students a fashion handicap of sorts (there are low expectations that we look professional and/or capable of dressing ourselves) which diminishes not long after graduation. There is no easier time in your life to look silly.
On the Bible:
If you want an entertaining epic saga, read 1 Samuel.
On the Bible *Bonus*:
If you want stories with simple and easily tied up resolutions, don’t read 1 Samuel. I still don’t know how to feel about Saul. Or Samuel.
One of the most important things Lighthouse can do at any event is warmly welcome everyone who participates. You might still remember who it was that made you feel wanted, relaxed, and at home when you first started coming. Just about every week, you have the opportunity to be that person for someone else and that is truly awesome.
On being a religious minority for like the only time ever in our lives:
You’ll find your four years at Puget Sound far more rewarding if you spend less of it lamenting how difficult it is for you to be at a school where most of your peers are agnostic or atheist, and spend more it thinking about what you can learn from this experience which is likely just a taste of what it’s like for atheists and agnostics (not to mention Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and many more) to live in a country where most their peers are Christian.
Don’t do it alone.
On the SUB Diner:
I worked there for four years, so I know a thing or two, but only one worth sharing. 99% of the full-time staff there really care about you guys. It’s kind of ridiculous given how limited their interactions with students often are and I know they don’t always show it well (it’s a stressful job), but your well-being is absolutely important to them and when they say “have a good day,” they sincerely wish it.
Frederick Buechner had this to say about his name. “It is pronounced Beekner. If somebody mispronounces it in some foolish way, I have the feeling that what’s foolish is me. If somebody forgets it, I feel that it’s I who am forgotten. There’s something about it that embarrasses me in just the same way that there’s something about me that embarrasses me. I can’t imagine myself with any other name – Held, say, or Rerrill, or Hlavacek. If my name were different, I would be different. When I tell somebody my name, I have given him a hold over me that he didn’t have before. If he calls it out, I stop, look, and listen whether I want to or not.
In the Book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh, and God hasn’t had a peaceful moment since.”
On falling in love:
This is a frightening, exciting, painful and wonderful thing. I have no wisdom which will make it any less frightening or painful, nor words which could possibly make it any more exciting or wonderful than it already is.
Seize every opportunity you stumble upon to commit a small act of kindness. It costs you little, but there’s a chance however slim that it’ll mean a lot to someone else. In any case kindness takes practice and the more often we practice it, the less costly kindness becomes regardless of how large the act may be.
Somebody I forget who, (Leonard Sweet maybe) said something along the lines of, “The most interesting people are those who are most deeply interested in something.” Or in other words, passion no matter how geeky, is sexy. Apathy on the other hand, is boring both to be in and around. …The only exception being that look supermodels sometimes do which communicates, “Oh, I’m so indifferent about lying here in my underwear. If only there was someone out there who could excite me.” But let me tell you, that’s a really difficult look to master especially in lingerie, so most of us will just have to care passionately about something instead.
I cannot imagine better last words for you to remember me by, so I’ll end it with that.
Okie dokie artichockies, stay awesome and have a fantabulous summer! Lator gators, toodles, xoxo, ta ta for now, and yours most very truly,