The art of walking backwards
Hi, I’m Megan, and I’m going to be your tour guide today. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover through six years of column writing, so try to keep up. I’m going to be walking backwards through the bulk of the tour, so if I’m about to trip on a curb or blunder into a sophomore, let me know.
First stop, junior year of high school. Look at all that black eyeliner! When I started a column for my high school paper, I thought it might be fun to write about the history of the English language. What high schooler doesn’t want to read a detailed biography on the semi-colon? Luckily, the night before my first column, I changed up my strategy and wrote a quick piece about trying—and failing—to get my driver’s license.
Back then, I wrote under the title “Of Cabbages and Kings.” The word cabbage always makes me uncomfortable, though—probably because in third grade, I was cast as “The Crabby Cabbage” in my elementary school’s garden play (a nickname I just barely escaped).
We’re already falling behind schedule—let’s jump ahead to my freshman year of college. Are there any questions? No, we can’t take a bathroom break.
I applied for a column spot the first issue of my freshman year—and I was turned down. According to then-Opinions-Editor Eric Lutz, my voice was “too high school”— the absolute worst thing you can say to a teenager fresh from orientation, convinced she’s the most cultured, mature student to ever grace Elmhurst’s campus.
So my columnist career stopped there. End of tour. Please take an evaluation on your way out.
Just kidding. On the Sunday of newspaper deadline, Eric emailed me and said one of their columnists quit unexpectedly. If I could turn in a new column within the hour, I could have the spot.
Now, I’ve written Jabberwocky for every issue of The Leader since my first day freshman year.
So I’ve had this column since I was sixteen years old. And honestly, I’m not sure who I am without it. I’ve written from dorm room beds and cafeteria tables, car backseats and hospital waiting rooms. I’ve written on good days, when I overflowed with optimism and wit and corny jokes about Chartwells. I’ve written on bad days, where I had no clear path except to write one more word, one more word.
I wrote about zombies and cell phones and high school friends getting married. Vacations and coffee and the survival skills of the Elmhurst Commutus.
We’re on the last leg of the tour, now—the last stop, in fact. This is my last column. I’m a little scared to write these final sentences, to finally be done. I can’t walk backwards forever. But I’ll be sure to glance over my shoulder every so often.
Whether you jumped on the tour halfway through, or you’ve been here since the beginning, thanks for tagging along. From the most sincere pits of my sarcastic columnist heart, I want to thank you all for your time.