By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer

I had a thought today: What if I had never written for this newspaper?

That thought then extended to what if I had never been accepted to Washington College and met the friends I have met? The laughs, stumbles, and tears would have never happened. It left me numb and blank, as if the very thought had the power to wipe everything away. I realized if it hadn’t been for this column, I would have never been able to express my life experiences without reserve and devoid of any pretense, with the hope of making a difference. In the beginning I thought, “How much can a student newspaper columnist really do, especially when their task once a week, every week, is to discuss relationships?” Then I began to be stopped on the Cater Walk, on my way to class, in Chestertown, with the words, “I read your column this week” or “Your Sex and The Chester,” and even “I enjoyed your column.” My knee jerk response to that was and continues to be “you did?”

There is so much I want to say, and yet every time a phrase, word, anecdote, or quirky one-liner comes to mind, as soon as my hand hovers above the necessary letter key that phrase, word, or anecdote disappears. Perhaps it’s because I am too focused on putting my heart and soul into a “goodbye/lesson learned/final article,” when this is where they have been all along. I cannot concoct a philosophical question this week or provide an equally compelling analysis and prescription for what is ailing the modern-day relationship. All that was done in the past. Any pondering I have left will return to being the private thoughts of an overly analytic hopeless romantic and my column will no longer appear next to Chester 5’s theater listings. This relationship, the one I have had with you, my readers and critics, has been one of the most rewarding relationships of which I have had the privilege to be a part. You completed my four years of undergraduate studies and research; for that I thank you.

I began my undergraduate career in a long distance relationship with one of my best friends from high school. At the end of that relationship, I took away an increased knowledge of independence, and the importance of honesty. Now, in the final weeks of my undergraduate career, I leave with the prospect of a long distance relationship, of which that independence and honesty will come in handy. In between I have met the bad, the ugly, the not too shabby, and the ones you wish you could forget. Single or dating, the range and type of relationships I have experienced have never been one in the same.

There are those relationships that build you up and help you realize the person you want or need to be. The relationships that make you laugh and break down barriers. The relationships that make you regret being in a relationship and then there are those relationships that stay with us even after we’ve said goodbye. Relationships can be formed between friends, family, acquaintances, professors, faculty members, lovers, boyfriends, girlfriends, pets, and a best friend that cause us to rethink the world and even ourselves. Whether it is good or bad, relationships contribute to who we are at this moment, in a month from now, and in the frequently anticipated future.

For my first article I watched the first episode of the first season of “Sex and the City.” On Sunday, I watched the season finale of the final season. In the last five minutes of the episode Sarah Jessica Parker is walking down the street and her voice-over can be heard above the traffic and noisy New York intersection. It is Carrie Bradshaw’s final parting piece of wisdom to her sitcom devotees: “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well that’s just fabulous.” This quote embodies what I too have tried to convey over the past three years in “Sex and the Chester.” My personal relationship with myself took years to form. I had to go through all the processes any relationship has to go through…and there were times when even I wanted a breakup. I think we all go through that, and I am still searching for that second part. That person to love the me I love; but for now, I’m content with being an “almost Carrie Bradshaw,” because I’m not done looking yet.

I was eating lunch in Chestertown this past week while writing a paper. My laptop was open and facing the sidewalk. On the cover of my Mac I have a decal of a knight in shining armor with the question “Where is he?” beneath him. I often forget that this is on the cover of my laptop, and this was one of those occasions. As I took another bite out of my Italian sandwich, a gentlemen stopped in front of me, pointed to my laptop, and said, “I hope you find him.” I smiled, amused but clueless, and then seconds later realized what he was addressing. Although by that time he had already walked away, and I was left smiling to myself.

The Elm

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