“I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us; you know!
How dreary to be somebody! How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”
I’ve been struggling to write this opinion for a while now. I realized it’s because I’m nobody. It’s tradition for senior staffers to impart the last Weekly columns with all the wisdom we’ve learned from being at Gustavus. But I don’t have anything too original or too important to tell the masses.
I’m four or less years older than the people reading this right now. Last night I had a panic attack because I convinced myself I have no friends. I don’t accomplish all I set out to do. I’m less put together and confident and social than most people here. And most of the time I feel like I don’t fit in.
Those are taboo words at Gustavus: I don’t fit in. We shun the people who say it as being elitist or asocial. Gusties idolize the people we think found their ‘niche’ here: the ones who lead conferences, become presidents of big groups, and start a successful organization etc. I think us nobodies and a lot of the somebodies want to believe that every Gustie is like them. But we’re not.
It’s not specifically the awards or involvement or how many friends I have on Facebook that makes me a nobody. As a nobody, I don’t just sit alone in my room all day. I have friends, have been involved in organizations, won random awards and I’m the editor-in-chief of The Weekly after all.
But this isn’t my time, this isn’t my crowd, and this isn’t my place. It’s hard to admit that — for many reasons. I feel like I’m letting down my family, and I’m insulting my friends who love it here. I feel like it means I’ve spent way too much money to go here. And worst of all, it makes me feel like I was wrong when I chose Gustavus.
With less than a month before graduation, and many interior and exterior debates about this topic, I’m still not sure if I would have done better at a different college. But I can by no means say that I regret coming here. I’ve had some great professors, met some amazing people and kick-started the career I’ve been dreaming about since fifth grade.
I can’t say that being at Gustavus has been a negative experience or that it has held me back in any way; I’m just saying I’m not a somebody here.
There will be no stories about me after I graduate, no plaques in my honor and when I’m gone, I’m never coming back to visit. I’m a nobody, but like Emily Dickinson, I can be proud of it.
We aren’t all somebodies, but being a nobody isn’t a gloomy hole of doom. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve enjoyed my last four years, and I’ve set myself up for a lifetime of great ones. I just wish I had embraced my nobody-ness earlier; not compared myself to the somebodies.
So I guess there’s my advice. Nobodies on campus; live your life and enjoy who you are.