Fidel: My Feelings for You
By Emma Fidel, The Dartmouth Senior Staff
Published on Saturday, June 9, 2012
I feel nauseous. There is a pit in the bottom of my stomach where my dread and anxiety and nerves have been living for a month. Tears are perpetually on call, ready to betray my nostalgia at any moment. Thinking about graduation — both the literal walk across the stage and the figurative new phase of my life — makes my heart rate increase noticeably. How do I say goodbye?
I know I’m being dramatic. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to relax, to keep things in perspective. But deep breaths make me teary and long walks give me too much time to think. Frantic phone calls to my mom end in, “You don’t get it,” and, “But it won’t be the same,” and, “Never mind, I’ll be fine.” Conversations with myself end in, “You’re being silly,” and, “You can feel sad for five minutes but then you need to go enjoy Senior Week,” and, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to miss them.”
The thing is, I’ve had these conversations before. The nausea, the uncertainty, the expectation — these are all familiar feelings. Saying goodbye to a place that I love, a place that has challenged me and taught me and molded me into the person who I am today? I did that six months ago. Graduating from this newspaper’s directorate seemed impossible, too.
For me, there is no Dartmouth without The Dartmouth. This newspaper is, in my opinion, one of the very best testaments to Dartmouth students’ intellect, creativity, passion, productivity and healthy skepticism. The Dartmouth is hardly perfect, but no other publication, business or organization — and yes, The D is all three — causes us to think critically about ourselves and the College in quite the same way.
But The Dartmouth is more than just a newspaper — its office in Robinson Hall was my home for three years and four months. I grew up in that building. I was sitting in that chair when President Obama was elected, and in this chair when he announced Osama bin Laden’s death. I cried to the editor-in-chief about girls’ rush in that room, and then, a year later, was cried to about girls’ rush in that same room. I reported from those couches, had dance parties on those couches, slept too often and not nearly enough on those couches. I met many of my best friends in that newsroom.
When we handed over the paper’s leadership to the ’13s in January, I was overwhelmed with feelings. I felt relieved to have made it through and excited to have free time. I also felt lost. I felt that I no longer had a purpose, that I no longer had something meaningful to work toward every day. I felt that there was a hole in my heart where journalism and my newspaper family once resided. I felt nauseous.
But that experience taught me a thing or two about graduating. For example, I learned that endlessly watching sitcoms is only a stopgap for and not an answer to your lost-ness. I learned that relationships do change after a big transition, that sometimes you realize you weren’t really friends in the first place, that sometimes the change makes it surprisingly easier to be true friends. And I learned that I cannot ignore my feelings — I have to acknowledge that they are real, but actively decide not to let them dictate my life.
After The D’s leadership changeover last winter, it took me about two months of uncertainty and nausea before I felt whole again. I have no idea how long I will need to recover after I walk across the stage tomorrow.
But I am sure that I am as ready as I’ll ever be to face these feelings. Because along with the nostalgia and sadness, there is excitement and hope. I feel excited to finally take on the “real world,” to move to a new city and to return to journalism. I feel hopeful that the College will thrive even while in flux, that I will make new friends who will tolerate my frequent references to Dartmouth and that I will keep old friends who will tolerate my frequent “I miss you” phone calls. Most of all, I feel proud to be a member of the Class of 2012. I feel proud to have known you, to have learned from you, to have screwed up and made up and grown up with you.
This is the feeling that I will focus on tomorrow, and in the weeks to come. This is the feeling that I will associate with Dartmouth once the nausea has subsided. I know that because this is what I feel for this newspaper.
And now that I have said what I needed to say, I feel a little better already.
Emma Fidel ’12 is the former editor-in-chief.