By Marian Baker, Opinions Editor
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.