In which, from the distant lands of Adulthood, Daniel looks back on his old friends fondly.
To my dear reader,
In many ways, life after college is isolating. Without being constantly surrounded by the same people for hours on end, day after day, for four years straight, fostering connections becomes much more difficult. Being someone that is easily socially overwhelmed, I don’t much miss college, the obligatory socialization, the academic pressure, the subsequently questionable diet, or the lack of sleep. What I do miss are the two things that I blogged about the most as a student, and that taught me the most about being a quasi-adult human – my college fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, and my college a cappella group, Underground Sound.
Over recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and making some form of contribution to both communities. For my fraternity, I came to a recruitment event for potential new members and gave a speech about the overwhelmingly positive impact of Beta on my life. For my a cappella group, I came to a rehearsal to give feedback to the group as, for the second year ever, the group prepares to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. I was happy to be able to come back and contribute to both communities, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was reacquainting myself with someone with whom I’d broken up with (in a healthy but nonetheless glum way). Mulling it over, the song that I was reminded of was Old Dominion’s “We Got It Right.”
With its sparse rock/country texture and the warm twang of the lead singer’s baritone, it’s the sort of song I’d expect to play at the end of a movie with shots of characters driving along coastal roads and flashback montages of elegantly failed romances. I’m into it. What interests me most musically, however, are the final notes played in the piano and washed-out guitar that end the song. I would expect the last notes to be the tonic – the secure, stable home base of music. Instead, both instruments end on the mediant – the third scale degree, which lends only a limited stability and usually implies that the music will progress until it returns to the tonic. With the reverb of both instruments making the lonely note ripple as it fades, it’s an effect that lends a sense of simultaneous completion, yearning and resignation to the end of the song, and aptly reflects my feelings about revisiting my fraternity and a cappella group. All at once, I am relieved to be in a new stage in my life, nostalgic about the community they lent me, and distinctly aware that this is just how things go – which is just fine! But I’m happy that, even after I’ve ventured out into adulthood, I still have some tiny form of a home left with them.
With all due respect,