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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: In which IU throws me into the deep end

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People keep asking me how I feel now that I’m graduating from IU. Everyone is doing it; they are dying to know.  

How do I feel? Well, things are falling apart, the center is not holding, mere anarchy is being loosed upon the world and some rough beast is slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. 

I’ve felt like I’m spiraling a little bit and so I reread Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” and like she felt in 1967, I feel now as if we have aborted ourselves and butchered the job.  

Longtime readers will know me for my columns promoting socialism. There is an old slogan attributed to Rosa Luxemburg – “Socialism, or Barbarism!” – and it seems as if we have elected to choose barbarism.   

I’m entering the actual adult world now, and the whole thing is a nightmare. For starters, I do not yet have a job lined up, and soon enough the government will demand that I give them back the tens of thousands of dollars they loaned me (the parasites!). The industry I’m attempting to enter – journalism – is actively dying. Then there’s climate change, the constant death and destruction funded by my tax dollars, the government’s utter inability to do things that help people –  

Things are falling apart. The center is not holding. Here is your diploma. 

When I was asked to write something for the graduation guide it was suggested to me that I submit a reflective piece about my time here. Something of a victory lap of sorts. And in some ways, I do feel good. I’ll never have to get up at the ungodly hour of 9:45 a.m. for class anymore. My friends and family are showering me with gifts. George Santos is giving us some good content. 

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But mostly I just feel dread. And the graduation guide needs a column about dread.  

I’m inheriting a world in flux, and it feels so lonely. There are people in my life trying to help me find jobs and apartments, it’s true, and yet it feels as if I just have to do this all on my own. The government uncaringly watches, indifferent to the status of my employment, healthcare, housing. 

Have people always worried about these things? Has the American Dream always felt as much like a false promise as it feels now? Surely not; economically speaking, workers had much more power in the first decades post-World War II. Like Tony Soprano, lately I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over. 

As a socialist, it’s very strange to me to feel such despair. We always talk about the inevitable victory of the working class, how communism is the “real movement” of things and not just an ideal we strive toward. And I do think this is true. We will win. This is the direction things are going.  

But the real movement often feels like it’s moving very slowly. Along with Didion, I’ve been thinking about Antonio Gramsci a lot lately. “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.” 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer of some kind, since I was a little kid sitting at my desk writing stories about dinosaurs. When I was a little older, I began my first novel, a Harry Potter fanfiction that I intended to send to J.K. Rowling to ask if it was cool with her if I published it. Then I was a teenager, writing songs and poems, dreaming of being Bob Dylan or Allen Ginsberg. And now it’s journalism. I think every writer feels this way to some extent, but I’m always wondering – am I cut out for this? Would anyone ever pay me to write about dinosaurs, or love poetry, or – god – journalism? No one even reads that anymore, do they? 

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How can a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22? 

Thanks, Taylor. You always know what to say.  

I want to end this by wishing luck to my fellow graduates. I hope you feel better than I do. I hope when people ask you how you feel, you have a better answer than mine. I hope you don’t feel scared. 

Jared Quigg (he/him) is a senior studying journalism and political science. 

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