May 23 must be a day connected with loss in my life. Just a year ago, I gathered with a group in Yost to watch the final episode of “Lost,” arguably the greatest television series of all time. And it was also the day that I finished writing this final edition of “This Column Is Ironic.” (You don’t get to read it for another three days, but that’s the miracles of publishing!) For those of you keeping count, this is column #26 for me — the culmination of an entire academic year’s worth of my inane musings and ramblings. Whether this is your first time reading or your twenty-sixth, I cannot thank you enough for wasting a few minutes of your day with my bad jokes and Ke$ha references. It means more than you know.
Mostly, I’ve tried to be funny. Sometimes, I’ve even tried to get real. We’ve gone on quite a journey together. I started things off by poking fun at Stanford events and institutions. I even tried to make fun of myself a little bit. Then, this crazy transatlantic adventure of mine happened, which I hope gave you an amusing insight into the Stanford in Oxford program. This column has been my creative outlet of sorts while abroad, so I hope you’ve enjoyed the new twist on my content. Writing an academic paper is hard enough when you know that just your professor or TA will grade you on it, but writing a column that can potentially reach thousands of really smart people forces you to attempt to produce something worthwhile every week.
Speaking of the “Lost” finale, I think this final column has a lot in common with a lot of the same themes (spoiler alert for the rest of this column…but really, it’s been a year). Christian Shephard would probably say that it’s meant to help “to remember — and to let go.” This whole experience at The Daily has allowed me to create a kind of lasting chronicle of my junior year at Stanford. Through good times and bad this year, I’ve tried to write something that connects to my Stanford experience. And maybe, if I was able to do things the way I hoped, my columns every week somehow connected to your Stanford experience, too.
My apologies for being so overtly sentimental both this week and last. You can blame it on being away from the Farm, but you can also blame it on Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. As research for this column, I’ve watched the final scene of “Lost” like five times and it always makes me weepy. I’m a sap, I’ll admit. I’ve already admitted to liking Hugh Grant movies in print, so I don’t think this could really damage my non-existent street cred any further. While the end of “This Column Is Ironic” might not necessarily precipitate the pop culture maelstrom that preceded the end of “Lost,” if I can succeed in making one person tear up — even out of happiness that this column has finally ended — then I’ll have done my job. Maybe, like “Lost,” I can even force my readers to ponder the deepest philosophic questions of life. For example, maybe the next time you get in your car, you can ponder, “Which seat can I take?” (You didn’t think I could finish off this column without an already-outdated pop culture reference, did you?)
And indeed, perhaps last week’s declaration of missing Stanford was a bit preemptive. Maybe I should have saved the sentimentality for the obvious reflection that this final column would bring. But you know what? I think it provides a great bridge between the two. I’ll make one final connection to “Lost” — another quote from the finale, in fact: “The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” Now, I’m not (again: spoiler alert!) Christian Shephard referring to some constructed afterlife. Rather, I hope you can use those words to make some connection to your Stanford experience thus far. Our time on our own island — that beautiful little bubble we call the Farm — is too short. Most of us have far less than six seasons to make the most of it. Don’t let it pass you by; otherwise, you’ll find yourself screaming, “We have to go back!”
This may be the end, but Shane isn’t going anywhere — for another year, at least. Email him at [email protected]