WHAT’S YOUR STORY: Mills’ story: Saying goodbye

Zach Mills

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing this column, it’s that everyone has a story.

On several occasions throughout this semester, usually an hour or so before my deadline, I’ve had to listen to students say, “I’m not interesting” or “I don’t have a story.”

My first mental response is, “You better find something in your uneventful life for me to write about. I got less than an hour to write this darn thing!”

Then after my frustration subsides, I think to myself, “Everyone has a story.”

Life is way too complicated and rewarding, too bitter and sweet, to be content uttering statements like, “My life is not interesting.”

Just being alive is enough to start with.

Another thing I’ve learned is that having a story does not necessarily mean that a person has experienced a tumultuous or traumatic life. Having a story means possessing any memory or experience that is worthy enough to remember. That’s it!

It could be as complicated as trying to explain how Einstein’s Theory of Relativity describes how you grew up or as simple as how someone’s smile made your week a little brighter.

So my suggestion to everyone for next semester is to pay attention to the life you’re living. Live with passion, and don’t forget the things you had to go through to make it to the place you’re at. Those are important facts.

If you follow that advice, I think you’ll find a lifetime of stories at your disposal.

But, unfortunately, I will not be writing your stories anymore. I have to step down from this position I have loved all semester. It’s time. I’m graduating in May and am off to make a story for myself in the real working world.

I have enjoyed being the “What’s Your Story?” columnist this semester, and I hope the column has been an entertaining and enlightening addition to the Herald.

And as I look back on my college days, days that have swiftly passed, imbued with memories fond, my recollection of every experience is slowly fading away. But the Hill has been for me a steady incline of memories and stories. I’d like to think that my most important memories will stay with me for the rest of my life.

That’s what college is all about, experiencing and remembering.

The truth about the Hill is that there are many students here who have received broken hearts, scored the winning point in a championship game and aced the big test. And there are those individuals on the Hill who have found their major, changed their priorities, increased their faith, broken cultural barriers, conquered their fears, said farewell to a fiance, realized their own imperfections, gone on a pilgrimage or found self-therapy. And some have simply found themselves.

I know these people exist on the Hill because I’ve met them. I’ve spoken to them. I’ve learned from them. And I’ll always remember them.

Writing this column was my job at the Herald, but I’ve taken something much more valuable from it than just a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well done – I’ve taken away friendships and brief encounters with perfect strangers that I never would have had. Some of those relationships have been short-lived. But there are a few that have the potential to be ones of longevity.

So next semester, when the new “What’s Your Story?” columnist calls you and asks for your story, before you think about saying, “I’m not interesting” or “I don’t have a story,” just remember that your story may be the bridge to a life-long friendship. Your story may inspire someone or change someone’s life.

Thank you to all my “What’s Your Story?” interviewees. Your secrets are safe with me, and your stories have educated and inspired me. They’ve made me laugh and cry. And they’ve made me appreciate the sublime power that one person’s story has in the lives of others.

Each week this semester, Zach chose a random person from the student directory and called them to ask, “What’s Your Story?” His series ran every Tuesday. Zach can be reached at [email protected]