If you sat through all of the credits

“…you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” –Nick Fury

At last, four months of credits finally show signs of ending. The infinite list of the digital artists who did the CGI for all those intense golf-cart chases from Senior Week, and that weird parkour scene in the Heights lounge, stumbles to a finish. Your eyes flit over the songs used throughout this final installment in your Colby legend: #SELFIE for that debauched Doghead montage, The William Tell Overture, for that mad dash across campus to your final exam and Bound 2, used unironically (but let’s just forget that that bit happened entirely). Hey, not a bad mix overall, maybe you’ll pick up the CD on the way hahahaha (but seriously, I’m totally adding that playlist to my Spotify).

Special Thanks scroll by, inside jokes that only about a dozen people will understand: In Fondest Memory Of that valiant, doomed forty of Colt 45 tragically dropped to a crashing doom while it was being carried up the hill to the Apartments,  that really odd logo that looks like a cross between a spider web and a Cat’s Cradle. Copyright 2014 Colby College. Then, for a moment: a pregnant pause in the still blackness. Half the theater is empty, but those who remain thicken the air with their exhaled anticipation.

What is the final word on your semester, your year, your entire time at Colby College? The audience enjoyed watching the pomp and circumstance of your triumphant graduation. But that was predictable enough. It’s hard to completely accept that in four short years, essentially all of our Colby stories come to an end. A part of us, big or small, is always going to yearn for just a little bit more. What’s the catch? The twist? The stinger?

Maybe it’s a callback to the very first scene of your saga. Except this time, instead of eagerly bounding up the steps of Miller, you’re walking warily into the halls of grad school, reminiscing on late night WHOP calls and buff chick quesadillas. It could be a triumphant glimpse of the natural continuation of your personal epic.  Perhaps a forced sequel that ends up being overlong, expensive, and ultimately leaves your character just as directionless as you were before. Or worse yet, your character wakes up after the credits, stumbles out of bed, and looks in the mirror to find a mid-30’s shell staring back at them, the fire of youth slowly strangled off-screen in a post-graduate purgatory.

But no, I’m not that much of a pessimist to reckon that that will be the fate of the majority of us—whether you are a recently graduated alum, a freshman of the fearfully futuristic-sounding Class of 2018, or anyone in between. No, a much different scene appears from the blackness for the eager viewers. Unfamiliar faces, young faces, in very familiar settings: freshmen landing on a bare turquoise mattress for the first time, walking into Dana for their first meal and recoiling at the first essay they get back. There is even a brand new President, leaning back in his iron throne after the first of many very long days. These are all familiar stories through unfamiliar eyes.

In the end, that’s all this was ever about, really. Empathy. The ability to recognize on a daily basis that everyone around you is a protagonist, a three-dimensional character, venturing forth with their own unique point of view, following the tropes of their own genre. Life is a TV show if it means we can appreciate that every one of the people around us is a hero in their  own individual story.

That’s probably as good place as any to cut to black for the final time, though the studio will probably grind this franchise into the ground before they let it end on a high note. And for the likely-confused freshmen readers who missed the previous nineteen installments, fear not, for you can find them at thisgrandfiction.wordpress.com, available in Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download.

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