Column: Graduating Huskies should keep in touch

It was a simple moment. And I’m not sure it might have stood out the way that it had, if it hadn’t happened at the end of my last class, on the final day of the semester. It wasn’t just my last day of classes for the term, or for the year, even— but for my college career.
I recall the quiet moment when I sat at my desk. I circled “Very Good” for a number of answers before I realized this would be the last time I would be sitting at a desk among students, filling out a teacher’s evaluation. My desire to fairly assess the past semester on paper was overridden by my sudden awareness that school was actually, finally over.
I exited the classroom, my mind swirling at the cruel irony of all the lingering assignments that demanded my attention in the coming week. As I turned the corner, I saw my professor on his way out. We stood in the hallway and talked briefly.
“Keep in touch,” he said genuinely before we went our separate ways a few moments later.
If the past few years of my life have taught me anything, it is the value and staying power of those three words, strung together so effortlessly as they floated down the hallway and followed me outside and into the sun.
Over the past few years, I have found myself telling people to keep in touch, even if I am simply parting with a friend who I know I will see in the immediate future. The reason for this is simple: Because it is a nicer alternative than saying goodbye.
It is fair to assume that most college students live pretty nomadic lives. We are often uprooted from our apartments or dorm rooms to resume our lives away from Northeastern, only to return again to co-ops or places abroad to study. In the past few years I have experienced a parade of people shuffle in and out of my life with such brevity that I have had barely enough time to ask why. Instead, I cling to the hope that ‘keep in touch’ will somehow translate beyond a virtual connection over the Internet.
In one of my earlier columns, from a few years back, I wrote about the value of staying connected to people absent of social media and e-mail. In that article I reconciled that one’s legacy is largely determined by the impression they leave on others. In keeping with that same theme, it is important to remember to reach out to those who have helped you along your way.
By the time this article goes to print, I will have finished a 13-page assignment that has involved a month’s worth of reporting. At the moment, as I write this column, I am surrounded by my AP Stylebook, a recorded interview on my iPod and pages upon pages of notes collected from various interviews.
Looking back, my journalism assignments have led me to some pretty crazy places around the city— including City Hall meetings, homeless shelters, psychiatric wards and even to someone’s breakfast table at their co-op house in Somerville to talk with them about urban chicken farming.
What I have learned is a most simple lesson: It is impossible to write a story, or learn the tricks and trades of reporting, without reaching out to people.
Graduation is one of those milestones synonymous with moving on, saying goodbye and promising to keep in touch. For many, it is a bittersweet transition from the old and familiar to the new and exciting. But before the tassels get switched and caps get thrown, there comes a moment to pause and reflect. You may realize then that your newly acquired diploma is a part of a greater whole.
You don’t have to be a journalism major to recognize that the best stories are those written with help from others. Your story at Northeastern is written with the voices from your friends, your classmates and maybe even your professor who tells you to ‘keep in touch’ as you leave class for the very last time.
So before you go, remember to keep in touch, Huskies. I have loved being given the opportunity to write to you.

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