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Allan: College memories linger beyond four years

On December 2, 2009

When Cyrus asked me to write a guest column for The Campus, I was both sickened and horrified, though not necessarily in that order and the former more so than the latter.

After all, it had only been about six months since I crawled out of the coal mine that was whatever makeshift newsroom we could cobble together and all I could hear in the back of my brain was the endless guffawing of editors and reporters alike trying to explain why their punctuation looked like they'd thrown it in a blender and expected me to print the resulting mess.

Watch all the scary movies you want but you don't know terror until you're staring down the barrel of a rookie class of journalists who either don't know, don't care or care way too much about ridiculous capitalization - sometimes in the middle of a word.

These are the thoughts of a former copy editor, though, hiding under his desk because he can't endure the idea of letting a friend down.

I wrote for The Campus for two and a half years so I can certainly crank out one last diatribe for old time's sake and maybe my buddies who're still on the front lines can rest easy.

So I cracked my knuckles … and proceeded to stare at a blank screen for hours, unsure of how to tie my universe now to the world I lived in at Ottawa and failing miserably because so much has changed.

I might be exaggerating a little, I probably got up a few times to put my head in the oven, but for the first time in a long time, I didn't have anything to say.

Nothing at all.

And I feel myself saying that ‘nothing' now, that ugly bile rising in my throat, all the while aware that the deadline had already passed and I was a terrible friend.

I mean, I remember deadlines from before, how something would just come to you out of the blue and it was like flying a helicopter in to rescue a bunch of folks who'd lost their homes to a flood when you brought in that missing article to fill the pages with.

I've been out of the game for awhile, however, and there wasn't so much as a life raft or a floating log to ease my conscience.

Then it came to me, somewhere in a lament to my wife, that what I was struggling with had been with me all along.

The tiny nugget of truth that bound then to now was this: life is a bunch of cheese - holy, smelly cheese.

I might have moved 130 miles away and started a family, but the friends I made at Ottawa are still my friends today and I'd fumble through the most awkward writing process imaginable if it meant helping them out.

This guest column is a testament to Limburger, then, something to remember as you move through your time at Ottawa.

These people you're seeing, a lot of them you'll see again when that time's over, and you should do your best to remember that they'll do their best, too.

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