Won’t you come and wash away the rain …

Elton Wong

One of my guitar students is named Robert, and he’s an eighth grader at Ames Middle School. Having Robert as a student is cool, because I started playing around the age he is now, and it’s rewarding to see how his progress mirrors mine.

Every other lesson or so, he’ll bring his mp3 player with some songs from Napster on it, and I’ll transcribe them for him during the week. When he was beginning he would bring in radio hits, most of which weren’t all that familiar to me.

One time last semester, though, he came in and said, “Oh, I heard some old song on the radio and I downloaded it. Could you figure it out for me?” I figured “some old song” would be something like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin. Robert continued, “It’s called `Black Hole Sun,’ by a band called Soundgarden or something?”

Man, I learned that song right when it came out, which was the summer of my freshman year of high school. My friends and I used to jam to that song. If I had to mark the transition in my life from hip young kid to old fogie, that would probably be the moment.

Graduating from college is right along those lines. As college students, we all take four-odd years of our lives and devote them to learning things. I don’t believe that any civilization in the past has created such a rich infrastructure devoted to imparting knowledge to its members. The fact that most anyone can go to college and study whatever they want in depth is remarkable and something we should all appreciate.

With my guitar students and from my work as a supplemental instructor, I think I have a greater appreciation for the way knowledge flows. Learning from a teacher doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work, but it does guide your efforts..

So, now that it’s time to thank the people who made college what it was for me, I have to thank first all the professors I’ve ever had. In all disciplines and in all fields of study, it is amazing to encounter people like you who are not only extremely knowledgeable, but spend their time teaching others.

I’d also like to thank my editors at the Daily for giving me a space to fill up for two and a half years, and of course to everyone who has read my stuff. An especially big thank you to everyone who has told me they liked a column or that it made them think, because that’s what makes all this worthwhile.

I guess I don’t know how to end this column without getting schmaltzy, so I’ll just say college has been great and I thank everyone who has been a part of this experience for me. Peace out, yo.

Elton Wong is a senior in genetics and philosophy from Ames