My Least Favorite Word

You know how some people have these little habits that just get you down? Like Bernie…

Well, sort of like Bernie.

You know how some people have those little words that just get them down? I’m one of those people.

There are a few words that really make me cringe every time I hear them. I want to play two-year-old and cover my ears. I want to (and sometimes do) say “shhh” very loudly to whoever has just rocked the Ferris Wheel car holding my sense of equanimity.

The culprit?


In all of human history, graduates have struggled with the word “last.” Graduation is a time of many lasts. Therefore, this blog shows how the main character, Jen, struggles with the word “last.”

(end mockery of freshman English essays.)

If I started counting all the “lasts” coming up in the next few weeks, my ability to function would deteriorate pretty rapidly.

Last writing center tutoring session would become last pump of blue hand sanitizer after a sick undergrad sneezes on my hand, last use of the green pens, last sheet of paper dropped into the paper recycling bin…

Last class would have become last thing I say in a graduate seminar (make it good!), last note I take as part of my Masters education, last time I walk out of this building with my classmates, last time I trip over the step leading out of Tribble while wearing a backpack…

Last time I visit my study carrel before turning in the key would become a form of warped nostalgia about a place I hated and avoided at all costs…

Last thesis forms turned in would become the last time I talk to professors, last time I write something as a masters candidate, last time I am a student, last day of not being in the real world, last day of student discounts and lazy afternoons pretending to do homework, last time I get ink on my fingers while signing a student form as a masters student…

Last, last, last, last, last.


It starts to get a little ridiculous after that point. Any time you feel nostalgia for the act of stubbing your toe on a particular hunk of sidewalk is an appropriate time to stop and reevaluate.

So what to do with all of these (b)last(ed) things?

Maybe I need to take a lesson from Lucy.

(I know, from Chicago to Peanuts in one blog post? Who does that? Me, that’s who.)

Some people go through life with the deck chairs facing forward, gazing out where they are going…Others go through life with their deck chair facing backwards, looking at where they’ve been. Which way is your deck chair facing?

I’m pretty sure my deck chair, assuming I’ve gotten it unfolded — I’m so used to a desk chair, you know — would be facing meta-backward, if that’s even possible.

Reverse! reverse!

(Cha-cha slide too? This is getting out of hand…)

It would be cliche to say that accomplishing something necessarily means finishing something. And that’s a good thing. Maybe the point is to add the next cliche and say that finishing one thing means starting something else.

Could be good. Could be bad. The possibilities aren’t endless, but there are a few.

And every time I think about graduation in this morbid and somebody-please-smack-me way, I’m reminded of a funny quote from three years ago. At my first contra dance when I moved here, the person behind the desk asked me, “Are you a student or a real person?”

Well guess what, friends. In the midst of all the “lasts,” next week will be the first time I’m a real person again!

How about that.



Published by Jen

The author of Snark on the Side is not your average run-of-the-millennial generation. Jen is a contradiction in terms: a graceful klutz, a smart blond, a math-savvy English degree-holder, a southern liberal, and an adult amateur equestrian who doesn’t match her saddle pads. Snark on the Side is a work in progress, born out of years of rambling email newsletters and anthropomorphized Christmas letters, small town observations, and the ever-present irony of pursuing a career with a degree in English literature. Thanks for visiting!

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