Some Insights From Your Opinions Editor

By Marian Baker, Opinions Editor

marians desk.jpg
The desk where all the magic happens. Notice the disheveled desktop, the second coffee of the morning, and the under-eye bags. Photo courtesy of Greg Peterson.

Well, this is the last issue of The Paladin for which I will serve as Opinions editor, which means that I am obliged to reflect on my experience this past academic year. I am not one given to deep sentimentality, however, so you will have to excuse my lack of deep, clichéd platitudes on the subject. Nevertheless, I will try to offer some helpful insights to you, the reader, that I gained through my work with The Paladin.

First, I wish to impress upon current students the sense of Furman as a community. Before I began writing for The Paladin and receiving feedback on my writing from alumni, administrators, faculty and current students alike, I had not experienced a strong sense of community at Furman among the student body. However, over the past year, I have received letters, emails and gestures of support from people connected to Furman across the country — putting me into contact with a community that I did not even know had existed before, one that extends beyond the people currently on campus. Furman is so much more than a campus, so much more than a transitory group of students who are here for four years and then disappear. The Furman community extends around the world, and I implore you to acquaint yourself with it, for it contains a truly amazing and supportive group of people.

Next, I would like to share a lesson that I learned early on in my Furman career, but has been reinforced time and time again over the past four years. It is this: Furman’s faculty and staff are amazing. I wish I could recount all the times I received support from a professor, staff member or administrator; alas, there is neither the time nor the space. Take advantage of our amazing faculty and staff. We are all lucky to go to a school where such personal interactions are possible. Of all the things that I will likely remember of my time at Furman, the relationships I built with the faculty and staff will probably be number one. If you do not consider one of your professors to be one of your best friends, I daresay you are not getting the full Furman advantage. (A pun, please excuse me.)

My last message — perhaps the most important of all — is this: Furman, to a certain extent, is what you make it. No, I do not mean that if you are unhappy, it is your fault. What I mean is that you have the power to make great changes, to shake up this university at the roots. Just because something has been a certain way for a long time does not mean that it has to be that way forever. Make your voice heard; be a voice for the changes you want to see in your university. Do not accept anything less than what you think this university is capable of. I believe Furman is a great university, but by no means do I think it is perfect; therefore, I will continue to fight to make Furman the school I know it CAN be.

On another note, I offer my best wishes to my successor, Courtney Kratz. She is a brilliant writer and I have high hopes for her, so treat her well.

Finally, this is not goodbye. Yours truly will actually be back in the fall to put the finishing touches on a Furman degree, and you can be sure that I will continue to lend my hand to The Paladin as a writer. Sorry Furman, you have not gotten rid of me just yet.

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