Dear Class of _____

June 17, 2013

Dear Class of  _____,
On June 18, 2012, the Class of 2012 walked in the graduation ceremony at the University of Oregon with great pomp and circumstance. It was a (typical) cloudy/rainy day in Eugene. We were surrounded by our friends and family. We had our education behind us and the world in front of us. Today, you all joined the us, and the many before us, as alumni of the University of Oregon. Many congratulations are in order.

When I put on my cap and gown that day, I knew that I was not really graduating. I was going to finish school in December. Celebrating the fact that I was almost there seemed weird to me. It was important to me to go through the ceremony and have the experience, the pictures, the memories. However, as I saw the pictures and postings by the Class of 2013 on various social media sites from their graduation one year later, I couldn’t help to feel a bit of regret. I didn’t have time to really celebrate, as I was starting my job the next morning at 6am. I didn’t want to go take a picture in front of a cool University of Oregon sign because I wasn’t going anywhere. You can look back on my post from the week before my graduation ceremony. I didn’t appreciate the day. I didn’t soak it all in. It felt like a charade to me, and I shouldn’t have let it. Don’t get me wrong. I had a big smile on my face and I felt very accomplished. But when you start summer courses exactly one week after you “graduated,” it feels a bit strange. In retrospect, I should have soaked in the day a bit more. I should have thrown the idea that I wasn’t really done out the window and appreciated the day for what it meant.

I am writing you this (open) letter so you can take the time to reflect on everything today. I am writing this letter so that you, the Class of ____, can take the time to stop, look around, and soak in the accomplishment that you have achieved. The ceremony. The day. the caps. The gowns. The sound of your name being called as you walk across the stage and into the next phase of your life. Let it all soak in. Have fun. Celebrate. So what if you have a little extra time to go. It doesn’t matter if you are actually graduating today or in a few months. Today, you are graduating. That’s all that matters!

Congratulations to the Class of ____! This day belongs to you!

Alex Horwitch
University of Oregon
School of Journalism and Communication – Public Relations
Class of 2012

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End Of The World Playlist

December 21, 2012

According to some, scientifically proven by none, the end is here. 12/21/12. The “end” of the Mayan calendar. The end of days. Armageddon. And I can’t think of a better way to spend the apocalypse than by listening to some great music. So here you go. Your “End Of The World Playlist” by Alex.

  1. “Save The World” by Swedish House Mafia
  2. “Time Is Running Out” by Muse
  3. “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones
  4. “Straight To Hell” by The Clash
  5. “99 Luftballons” by Nena
  6. “Waiting On The World To Change” by John Mayer
  7. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John
  8. “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
  9. “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC
  10. “The Funeral” by Band of Horses
  11. “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden
  12. “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning” by Smashing Pumpkins
  13. “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd
  14. “Death And All Of His Friends” by Coldplay
  15. “When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” by The Police
  16. “1999” by Prince
  17. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith
  18. “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.
  19. “I Will Survive” by Cake

Enjoy your end of days everyone! Lenny Bruce is not afraid! Save us Bruce Willis!


Something New

December 19, 2012

I start this post by saying, I don’t know what to say. Just giving you all that fair warning. It’s OK if you decide to stop reading this now. But we’ll see how this goes…

On to the next, I guess.

When there is something you want, something you are really hoping for, hearing that you didn’t get it can let you down a bit. That’s natural. But you get over it and you move on. There is a Yiddish word, bashert, which means “destiny.” It insinuates that something is meant to be. Preordained. Almost like a Jewish version of “Que sera, sera.” So maybe this is part of that “divine plan.”

We’ll see what’s next, but right now, this sucks.

In my fraternity, we would have the pledges conduct Brother Interviews to have them get to know the Brotherhood better. Questions ranged from the general (Name, Age, Major, Hometown) to the funny/obscure, like “What would you dip yourself in” (Not the Mill Race) or “What’s your favorite type of hole” (doughnut). All of it is meant to break any tensions of talking to older members. Get everyone introduced. Give everyone a quick laugh and make sure everyone feels comfortable around each other, while giving the new guys some advice at the same time. But there was always one question that would make me smile a bit.

“What is your favorite part of Eugene?”

I’ve heard a multitude of answers for this question. The Ducks, clean air, trees, girls. To each his own. But my answer was always simple. The people. The people are nice. The people are interesting (to say the least). The people make your experience better (or worse). The people are what makes going to the Duck games fun. The people are why you go to the same bar almost every night. The people are the ones that leave their door unlocked for you so you can hang out and act like idiots together. The people are the ones who make your college experience that much better. The people make Eugene and the U of O what they are.

So as I prepare to move on and start the next chapter in my life, what am I going to miss the most? I’ll miss my favorite part of Eugene.


Penn State (NCAA Sanction Reaction)

July 23, 2012

Serious question. What is the point of vacating wins? Not just for Penn State, but in general. It really is pointless in my eyes.

For the PSU scandal, how does vacating wins help the victims and their families? You’re taking away wins from a man who died just so that he isn’t the all time wins leader in NCAA Division-1. Whoop-de-freakin-doo. That doesn’t change anything. As I said in my previous post, the wins still happened. As did the cover-up.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. Illegal. The games he managed still count. Mark McGwire took steroids, then (while not accused) committed obstruction of justice by refusing to speak on the matter to Congress. Illegal. All the games he played in still count. Tim Donaghy bet on NBA games and even effected the outcome of some. Illegal. All those games still count. Michael Vick was running a dog fighting ring out of his house while he was playing for the Falcons. Illegal. Went to jail. All games still count.

Joe Paterno and his cronies in the Penn State Athletic Department committed obstruction of justice. Illegal. All victories to be vacated.

The NCAA is the only organization which takes away things that happened. There’s no way to avoid it. The USC-Oklahoma National Championship game? IT HAPPENED! USC won. The 2006 Orange Bowl? IT HAPPENED! Penn State won!

Now, imagine you were a player for PSU in that 2006 Orange Bowl or the 2005 National Championship. Imagine that you didn’t even play. You were a bench warmer. The game is over. Your team wins. You are rewarded with a nice little piece of jewelry for your finger which reads “Champion.” You get that for the rest of your life. No one asks you how many minutes you played. The only thing that matters is that you were on a championship team. That is, until you find out that someone did something bad and the NCAA is going to pretend your victory didn’t happen. Your ring means nothing because in the age of instant media where anything can be looked up in seconds, it shows that the winner of the 2005 National Championship was [vacated] and the winner of the 2006 Orange Bowl was [vacated]. And worst of all, as a player, you didn’t even know what was happening to make your victory go away. Do you think any of the players on that 2006 team knew anything of what was going on? It’s called a cover up for a reason.

How is that fair? The players worked their asses of to win a game. They won. Not Paterno. Now they have their championship taken away. The players were innocent. The coaching staff is gone. The Athletic Director and University President were fired and face jail. Sandusky is in jail. Paterno is dead. This scandal isn’t about college athletics. It is about human lives. The NCAA has no right to be the ones administering punishment. Let the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and the legal system take care of that. By continuing to punish people who had nothing to do with the scandal you continue to think about the scandal and fail to try and move on.

I’ve been told not every sanction is about the victims. This time, it is. The NCAA put down harsh sanctions because they thought it would help the victims and their families feel better. What will make them feel better is when everyone involved is behind bars. The NCAA just told the families, “You remember that game in 1999 vs. Purdue that Penn State won. Well, we took that way from them. Sorry about everything. Feel better?”

So answer me this. What is the point of vacating wins? How does it help/solve problems, not only in this situation, but throughout collegiate athletics? If you were a family member of a victim, would you be relieved that a Penn State game in September of 2002 vs. Louisiana Tech didn’t count as a win anymore?


Change It Up!

July 11, 2012

It’s time for a Social Media adjustment.

My Twitter account was born as @AlexInInfoHell on March 8th, 2010. According to twbirthday.com, my “Godfather” is @claytongraham. I have logged 20,550 hours, 856 days, 28 months, and 2.3 years on the social media site. I currently stand at 5,142 tweets and have gathered 843 followers. Impressive, if I do say so myself. In those 2.3 years, I have become very well versed in social media; the do’s and don’ts, the proper techniques and etiquette, and much more (thank you #J412ssm)!

But it’s now time for a change.

Read the rest of this entry »


Stuck In Limbo

June 6, 2012

As the term comes to an end here at the University of Oregon, I continually see similar posts on various social media sites. A Facebook status here. A tweet there. An Instagram picture of this. (And now) A blog post about that. People my age are all preparing to graduate. Some of my friends comment about how today is their last day of school ever and the 4 day weekend they have enjoyed all term is about to turn into a 4 day celebration. Graduation announcements are being sent out. Posters are being placed around campus congratulating the Class of 2012.

I feel like I should be showing some emotion. I feel like this is the time for me to get nostalgic. Yes, I am returning to the UO in the Fall to finish up some classes. It is more common than ever for students to come back for a term or even a whole year. But still. Graduation is approaching. I have said goodbye to two groups that were a major part of my college life, and am about to say goodbye to one more on Friday. Yet no emotion.

Am I a robot? Am I void of emotion?

I am stuck in limbo. I will graduate on Monday, June 18th. I will wear my cap and gown and walk with the rest of the Class of 2012. One week after that ceremony, I will be back in a classroom for 4 weeks of summer courses. It is my own fault, and I understand that. I take complete blame. Maybe I stretched myself too thin between extra curricular activities and school. Maybe math and science REALLY just isn’t my thing (I knew that before). But still. Shouldn’t I be feeling something right now? Is there something wrong with me?

Limbo is a terrible place to be. I have every symptom of Senioritis, yet I still have work to do. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, that tunnel is a few hundred yards away and I am running towards it at the speed of turtle. I recognize that I am no longer a part of  the student groups I cared so much about, but I am not sad. I should be sad, shouldn’t I!?

I have a Senior Bucket List to finish. I want to finish it now, while my friends are still here. But knowing that I have more time makes me unmotivated. “I’ll just finish it in the Fall.”

I know I am rambling, and I may not even be making sense to those reading this. But limbo is a terrible place to be.  You feel no emotion. You feel no motivation. You just sit there and watch everything spin around you. The one thing you feel is sadness and depression that you will not be joining your friends on the other side of graduation. The knowledge that when you throw your cap up in the air to signify the end of your education, it will be a lie.

I don’t even know what to say anymore. I sit here in my room which has become a war zone filled with papers, books and laundry, and I am only disappointed in myself. I should be celebrating right now. Instead, I am stuck in limbo.

 


Perspective

May 13, 2012

While it is an unfortunate truth, tragedy brings communities and peoples together. The untimely passing of Lill Pagenstecher, a sister at the Chi Omega Sorority at the University of Oregon, is one of those tragic events. Many knew her and were touched by her. Others (myself included) did not have the opportunity to know her. But the stories told tonight make you stop to look around for a second.

Take time to tell your family members you love them.

Take time to tell your friends you appreciate them.

(For Greek Life members) Take time to cherish your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters.

Do all of the things you want to do in life.

If you have aspirations to do something big in business and be successful in something you love, go for it.

Don’t take things so seriously. Have some fun. Laugh it off. Smile.

And while this post may seem (on the surface) as just another “Carpe Diem” post, for those in the UOfsl community, and for those who were touched by Lill, tonight means a little bit more.