From The University of Chicago Record, Volume 36, Number 3, March 7, 2002 (Remarks at the 465th Convocation)

By Justin Jeremy Seidner

For us graduating seniors, this past week has been frenetically busy --- four years of intense study winding to this one single day.

We've exchanged addresses and new phone numbers, trying to keep up with everyone as they take off throughout the world. We've spent four years together and are now so desperately trying to figure out how we still fit into each other's lives. It's on that note that I have something important to say to someone in particular. It's something personal, but very important to me.

Dearest University of Chicago, please sit down. We need to talk. I feel that things have changed since we first met four years ago; that I've changed. It's not like it was two years ago when I thought I just needed some space. This time it's serious.

When we first started going out, it was so romantic. You had so much to offer and I seemed to make you happy. To be honest, I thought we'd be together forever.

Our time together has been one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had. You really looked out for me (it was so sweet). Like one time, I fell asleep in Crerar Library and you sounded that bell at 1 a.m. It was a gentle reminder that I wasn't a graduate or medical student, and that I wasn't allowed the privilege of 24-hour access.

You opened my eyes to so many new and different ways to think --- writers like Plato, Durkheim, and Rousseau. And you wanted me to discuss their works --- engage in conversation. You weren't just interested in how I looked physically, but in what was up here. You always gave such well thought-out rebuttals to my carefully constructed arguments, comments like: "poorly constructed", "unclear and unsubstantiated", and my favorite, "does not conform to the fundamental laws of the universe". You really took an interest in me, and I appreciate that wholeheartedly.

And please don't think this is at all easy for me. You've left such a lasting impression on my heart. Every time I see a gray, Gothic building or a tree with no leaves in the middle of May, or whenever I spend a 36-hour stretch trying to fake my way through P-Chem, I'll think of your sweet embrace. (Oh gosh, please don't cry, you know how I can't handle it when you do.)

I'll always treasure the memories of our time together, like the pic book you gave me during our first week together, the alumni magazine that I'll get at my new address. I'll return your Blues and Ribs Tshirt, and those books I borrowed. I know this is probably awkward for you, because I still owe you a lot of money. Please keep it close to your heart that you have put me in a blissful state of financial despair, most likely for the rest of my life. Your check is in the mail, I promise.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I do still care about you. It's not you, it's me. I'm a different person now. You'll find someone new, I'm sure of it, someone who will make you happy and treat you right, someone to whom you can really open up the world.

Thanks for letting me air that out.

So, Class of 2001, this is it, here we go, off into the world. And as you enter the ritz and glamour of the consulting fields, whether it be as a management consultant, an economic consultant, or a general consultant in the humanities, remember not to take yourself too seriously, that a wink is sometimes as good as a smile, and that when you become rich and famous I will still like being taken out to dinner.

Justin Jeremy Seidner received a bachelor of arts degree during the convocation. His major area of study was Chemistry.

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