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Wednesday December 6, 2000

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Lessons learned, thanks given, time to move on

By Nick Zeckets

All things come to an end. Lives, hopes, journeys and challenges. Writing for the Wildcat has been a heartily welcomed test that will never be forgotten. Passions infused with a determination to expose my logic and opinions to the UA campus drove me to take this job on. This is a thank you and a good-bye.

Some of you may well remember the commotion I stirred in the fall of 1999, having criticized the UA students who posed in Playboy. Perhaps the classified staff still have some choice words they've reserved for a special time in a dark alley. All arguments and fighting aside, we're all Wildcats and free to make what decisions and comments we want under the greatest of gifts: the First Amendment.

Embrace that right, but approach it prudently. Initially, many of my arguments were gut-heavy and lacked experienced research that would lend my articles credibility. However, under the guidance of my four editors-in-chief - Dave Cieslak, Tate Williams, Eric Swedlund and Brett Erickson - I have had the chance to grow. To each of you who continue on as students and promising journalists, I give my thanks and support.

More closely, from the perspectives editor, Dan Cassino, I have learned temperament and grace under fire. From the death letter at home episode to the barrage of letters to the editor, comportment was the lesson he instilled in me. He stressed strong writing and control balanced with passion. The UA will sorely miss his presence, but I do wish him luck in his bid to rule the world.

With every desk there exists a sense of camaraderie particular to those writers. Perspectives was laden with opinionated asses, all of whom I love to death. Free thinkers they were and continue to be. Some are still around to lead this paper in the future, and others have graduated and are helping shape the world. A bit of each of them is still with me, and I pray that some part of my energy has stayed with them. Remember their names UA because they've just gotten warmed up.

There have been crushes, excessive bouts of flirting and a slew of Wildcat parties to which I've been to as a member of this family. To everyone who saw the "STOP" sign episode, my football antics, pure "jackasserey" and seemingly absent maturation, thanks. You were my family and friends in this desert city so many miles from home. Adieu.

Lastly, the newspaper was bestowed with an amazing asset in writing coach Jim Maish. He's helped all of his pupils, and I owe much of my writing improvement this semester to him. Jim, I'm grateful for all you've done. Keep us growing and honest.

Now, I'll answer each one of you out there wondering what in the hell I'm talking about. Yes, I am a junior, and, no, I am not transferring. However, I have been blessed with the opportunity to study abroad next semester in Switzerland. Ooooh. I definitely recommend that everyone look at going abroad. Afterwards, I have one semester here to finish the beginning of a long academic road. I know you will all do just fine without me.

Enrich yourselves and experience what this amazing school can offer you. Be true to yourselves in your academic endeavors, persevere and anything is more than possible. Do not short yourselves, or you will regret it. Hindsight is indeed 20/20, but there is a future for many of us and during that stint, as long or short as it may be, we can do more. Go forth.

Be an actor or actress. Join a service club to make the lives of someone else better. Start your own club that brings people together in the spirit of progress and forward thinking. Play intramural sports. Hell, apply for a position at the Wildcat. We all know another columnist is needed to fill the void I'm creating. Be better than me, please. Lead this campus with heart and fire. Be that person.

Thank you all so much. This cheese to which you are now party is in no way an undermining or toning down of any previous article. I am vehement in my positions and would hope that everyone else is with room for modification in light of factually based logic. I wish you all the best. Until another time, good-bye.

Nick Zeckets is a political science/near-Eastern studies junior. He can be reached at