It’s hard to encapsulate the four years I’ve spent, the four years anyone’s spent really, in just a couple hundred words. The way our lives have all collectively changed since starting my college career here at Clemson is immeasurable. But if you’re reading this now, you’re hyper aware of this fact and I simply don’t feel the need to drone on about it any longer.
Honestly, I felt that I was able to tell you all a complete story over the last four years through my pictures. It’s why I haven’t picked up my proverbial pen in over a year (spoiler alert: we do actually just type all of these articles). But I cannot in good conscience sit here and not take this opportunity.
I owe a lot to this paper. When I entered as a wide-eyed freshman in the fall of 2018, I knew for a fact that I was going to graduate with a bachelor's degree in computer science, work for some big tech company and make a pretty sizable living. Photography was just supposed to be a passion project to take my mind off of school.
Well, one year later and computer science was kicking my ass. The Tiger had already provided me with an outlet to show I was able to cover sports, and I knew that I needed to make the switch to sports communication completely to be fulfilled academically. And to be one-hundred percent honest, I would not be graduating from Clemson if it wasn’t for The Tiger. My hand would have been forced and I would have had to transfer somewhere else to pursue my academic and professional interests.
I feel a certain debt to this newspaper that I never think I’ll ever be able to fully repay. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Pulley, who teaches the two journalism courses offered by the English department and really helped foster my love for good journalism.
As someone whose future is less-than-certain, I have to say the future can be scary, especially when we were all just reminded of the way the world can change in the blink of an eye. And it’s far from reassuring seeing friends and classmates get jobs and make moves to start their careers while I’m still sitting at home applying for jobs. But I have never been unhappy for my friends despite the existential dread it may bring me. Why? Because I believe there is room in this world for everyone to flourish. Just because a friend landed a job that I also applied for doesn’t mean my opportunity isn’t around the corner.
If there’s one thing in this life I will never take for granted it’s the victories. Be it small or large, mine or a loved one’s, succeeding and seeing those you care about succeed is unmatched. In the big picture our lives are short — too short to not celebrate the victories and to not bounce back stronger than you did the first time.
If you get nothing out of these four(ish) years you spend in these hills: take chances, make mistakes and learn from them. You’ll never get the chance to take the kind of chances and make the kind of risks you will during these four years again. You might as well make the most of it.
Caleb Browder is graduating with a degree in sports communication and was the photo editor for The Tiger.