“So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

Paul Wong
Pray for Rain<br><br>Mike Spahn

Carl Spackler

I knew a little bit about college when I came here four years ago. Classes, parties, friends, midterms, papers, opportunity, freedom. I knew all were in my future.

What I didn”t know was what would rise to the top as the most important piece of my college career. I didn”t know what, when I wrote an epigraph of some sort, would be the centerpiece. I didn”t know what, when I told my children about college, would be the first memory to bring a smile to my face.

With two short weeks left in my undergraduate career, the answer to those questions is clear: More than class, more than studying, more than craziness, I”ll remember fondly the relationships I”ve built, the people I”ve met and the friends I”ve made. Those pieces of my college career will never fade, and for that I”m grateful.

Four years ago my parents dropped me at Bursley Residence Hall, and left for good. I knew no one. I sat in my room for a few hours after bidding them adieu and wondered aloud for a few moments what I had gotten myself into. “I could be drinking a beer with my high school fiends in Madison, Wis., right now,” I thought to myself.

I got a little scared.

But then, by chance, I heard a person across the hall was a Chicago Bears fan, and what”s more, the Bears were playing my beloved Green Bay Packers three days hence.

An opportunity.

I still can”t believe that the first friendship I built in college began with me trash talking a guy I didn”t know, about football, music and golf. Even more unbelievable is the fact that I still am, and forever will be, friends with that Bears fan and putting competitor.

And as I met more and more of the 7th Doug crew, I knew I would be alright, but underestimated how great I had it. From putting in the hallway (I still have the cup, B) to late night pizza calls (Jet”s with ranch, E?) to intense matches of Bond instead of class (Miller, Baywatch, Cous … I”m leaving too many people out), I hit the big time when it came to hallway fun and that was without even leaving out exiled position on North Campus.

From North Campus I moved to South U. but those who knew me best knew I really moved to the Student Publications Building. There I met a host of people who will forever impact my life, one who always challenged me to be better than I thought I could ever be. Thanks.

But at the same time it was the people outside the building who I owe a debt of gratitude to. As I slaved, they never gave up on me. Broken plans, late arrivals and days away never impacted our friendships. And when it came time to sack up with six other guys for the home stretch of my college career, I lucked out again. Despite huge responsibilities and long hours, I was never abandoned.

The boys of 1024 Pack (B, Cups, Jimmy, Casey, Dr. G and Kilch) are known to many. From White Russians to early morning golf to a beer and BBQ on our porch, I couldn”t ask for a better group of people to hang out with. Things could have gone much differently for me.

A centerpiece to this coagulation of friendships came about a few years ago on the University of Michigan Golf Course. A chance crossing of three woods gave birth to an outing that brought together some pf the best people I”ve ever met. The Spahn-Hayden Invitational always was, and will be, an excuse for Brian and I to pull together all of the great people we know. I”m glad some people think it”s about golf, partying and hanging out (which, I guess, it is) but I always knew it would be a selfish attempt to see my friends and have a good time. From Scratch hitting the Bear in the back to having the cops put an end to the largest beer bong this side of the Mississippi, the memories are unforgettable. And for those of you who haven”t participated, just look for someone wearing the t-shirt, and they”ll tell you about it. I”m already looking forward to next year …

I”ve been trying to figure out why I have the friends that I do right now. We don”t have the same career goals. We don”t all act the same. We don”t value the same things the same way. But recently, I figured it out: They stuck with me through thick and thin, even when they had no reason to. And we always had a good time. That”s the true test of friendship.

When I think about it all in the end, I won”t worry about being far apart after graduation or the inevitable infrequency of meetings. I”ll just think of the Big Lebowski and birthdays, golf and games of Yahtzee, Simon”s and singing “Piano Man,” and my smile will return.

“If you will it, it is no dream.”

This is Mike Spahn”s last column for The Michigan Daily. He”d like to thank all those who influenced him on his journey through journalism (Heather, Josh, all of daily2k and everyone in between). E-mail him at mspahn@umich.edu.

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