(Author Note: I’m not good as introductions, so bear with me.)
Bonjour. Comment vas-tu?
My name is Chris Allen Brown. But you can call me whatever you see fit — as long as we leave the Chris Brown jokes in 2009.
To get the basic information out of the way first, I’m a 24-year-old senior Communications major from Jacksonville, Ala., but graduated from Weaver High in 2011. Walks on the beach aren’t too bad as long as we don’t have to walk far to find somewhere to sit down. The dress is blue and black, not gold and white. LeBron James isn’t the greatest basketball player of all time. One can’t go wrong watching any Harry Potter or Star Wars movies. I saw nothing wrong with the finale of How I Met Your Mother — because tears were flowing out of my eyes, so I couldn’t really see anything. I’ll throw down in Mario Kart 64 any time, any day.
I have the attention span of a squirrel — it’s taken me over an hour and a half to write this — and I often talk with my hands, which means I’m better than Ricky Bobby. I’m unique in that I self-describe as an introvert, but, more times than not, I’m the complete opposite. I just like to make sure everyone is laughing and having a good time when I’m around.
Sports are my life. Besides Sunkist, sports — baseball, basketball, football, racing, soccer, fighting, etc. — are my second love. I could lose myself watching any of the above, especially college sports because they’re doing it for the thrill rather than a paycheck.
Now, onto more valuable information …
I didn’t start writing until I was a sophomore at Jacksonville State University, but since then, I’ve taken it upon myself to get better each and every time I open a Microsoft Word document. Hanging in my room is a painting from a high school classmate that reads, “I’m a nobody trying to tell everybody about a somebody who can save anybody.” I’m not into writing for personal gain, but rather the pleasure of telling someone’s story in hopes that another person comes across it, connects with it and it change their life for the better.
Today’s random Chris fact (that may become a weekly thing in The Chanticleer, so watch out) is I knew all 50 U.S. state capitals when I was in fifth grade. To this day, I can tell you the capital of any state. For example, Montana’s capital is Helena. Boom. Mind Blown.
And no, it’s not the beginning of some twisted college movie where a videotape kills you, it’s more like a twisted college existence and the thing killing you is your degree.
I’ve been in college for seven years. Two years in community college and five years at JSU to get one four-year degree, and I’ll be honest I’ve thought of quitting a lot over the years. I’ve worked multiple jobs, sometimes at one time, to put myself through school without loans, so school has been a steady progression taking what I can as I can afford it. Spoiler alert: I can never afford it.
But here we are. Seven and some odd years since I graduated high school and at the age of 25 I’m finally going to get to walk across that stage and get the thing I’ve wanted more than anything else. My Bachelor’s degree. To say I’m relieved is an understatement, to say I’m excited doesn’t even begin to cover it and to say I never thought this day would come doesn’t even come close.
I wanted to talk about a lot of things in this piece. I wanted to talk about my time at JSU and how awful some parts of it were. About feeling like a number and not a person, about crying every single time they raised tuition and again when they cut my financial aid in half. I wanted to write about my frustrations and anger, about my sadness and tribulation, but then I decided not to. I decided instead to write about what became my saving grace, my joy and happiness and the brightest of the bright spots during my time as a Gamecock: my year as the Chanticleer Associate Editor.
I’ve been a writer for the Chanty since I got here and I’ve seen three different sets of editors come through, written for all of them but only really made true friends with the ones that are there now. Friendships I never expected, and didn’t know how badly I needed.
To Katie: Our fearless leader. You have been my friend from the beginning. From the first time I walked through that door and sat down at the desk beside yours. We’ve joked about how slow the computers are, accidentally got new ones, eaten lots of chocolate, told story after story, decorated for Christmas and so much more. For all of those things I thank you so much. Thank you for all the love that you’ve given me and shown me, thank you for teaching me things when you didn’t have to and being patient when I asked questions over and over. Thanks for listening to me ramble and go off on tangents about politics and religion and for always being there when I needed you. I love you and will miss you so much and I look forward to reading whatever you write from now until forever!
To Alissa: The one person who loves her dog as much as I love mine. You are so amazingly wonderful and beautiful with a solid heart of gold. I remember when you found Liberty and then I remember when you decided to adopt her. I remember all the fun stuff you bought for her. I loved getting to do stuff with you and Liberty and Milo, I hope we can still do all that. Thanks for always making me laugh, for making me feel loved and pretty, for being silly and making fun of Tim and for doing my make up for my pictures with Ethan. Thanks for eating all the candy that I bought for the office and thanks for laughing with me when the picture frame broke during staff photos. I’ll always remember that. You’re a rock and a star and I can’t wait to see how far you go with Lib by your side! I love you!
To Tim: My BFF. I’ve known you longer than Katie and Alissa. You were my third sports editor. I only knew you through the computer and text messages before we actually met when I became Associate Editor. You were the first sports editor to actively tell me when my writing needed work and to tell me how to fix it. I’ll always appreciate the constructive criticism, even if I joke and tell you that you a mean dictator. Thanks for talking sports with me, for enduring my jabs about the Dodgers, for being my pal at the Anniston Star after we finished writing and for letting us meet Diana. I know that was hard for you (hee hee). You are hilarious and so much fun, I’ll miss our Tuesday afternoons just hanging out. Don’t forget us when you’re a big sports writer somewhere. Oh yeah, and I love ya.
Thanks JSU for giving me my friends. Friends that I never would have met anywhere else. I guess I owe you that much.
Goodbye JSU, I kind of hate to love you and you suck sometimes, but I’ll miss you.