With only 700-odd words standing between me and the end of my time at the Trinitonian, I’ll get to the point fast. Simply put, this column is a summary of and a reflection upon my four years at Trinity, modeled on the “Ithaca” chapter from James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” It is dedicated to my fellow Trinitonian staff, without whom my time at this place would mean a great deal less. I love you all dearly, and am always available to talk “Casablanca” or (hi, Faith) Welsh corgis.

Finally, a “thank you” to all of those who have read my work, and who Trinity has enabled me to reach. It’s a fine kind of college that gives you the chance to talk about your latest piece with Coleen Grissom each week.

And now, with my final 400 words, “Ithaca: Senior Edition.”

What did Mason learn from his collegiate experience? To ask more specific questions. Try again.

Upon entering Trinity University in August of 2011, what did Mason expect?

Inconsolable homesickness. Intimidating geniuses. A strange roommate. Increased freedom. Increased somnolence. Decreased sleep. Disturbing experiences with alcohol. Dazzling encounters with knowledge.

And, during those fateful first weeks, what did he actually receive?

Minor pangs of home-missing, mitigated by orientation activities and regular calls (on an early 2000s Samsung) from his mother. Unpretentious intellects and easy acquaintances. A strange roommate, but the good kind. The expected amount of both somnolence and sleep. Precisely one disturbing experience with alcohol, served, oddly enough, in a seemingly innocent beaker of the “Dexter’s Laboratory” variety. The expected deluge of dazzling knowledge. A birthday fountaining, courtesy of some bullish football players with whom he was, terrifyingly, unacquainted.

What did he subsequently receive over the next four years?

Can’t you narrow this one down?

Not with an hour left until deadline.

Fair enough.

What did he subsequently receive over the next four years?

Countless unbeatable friends. A few implacable adversaries. Two improbably great roommates. One astonishing band. A number of unforgettable professors, for reasons both excellent and execrable.

A handful of life-changers, as well as the resultant information they provided about Keats, Yeats, Hemingway, Bailyn, Henry James, James Madison, Chiune Sugihara, Wole Soyinka, Emperor Palpatine, et. al. A thimbleful of utilitarian information about the WTF of IRAs, 401ks and the like. A metric shit-ton of academic theories, which he embraced and rejected in roughly equal number.

Pounds on pounds of Aramark food, varying in quality. (Related: pleasurable discussions with everyday saints like Miss Alice, Miss Rosie and Mr. Tommy.) Hundreds of dollars in Tex-Mex and Mex-Mex dishes. Resultant obsessions with El Milagrito, La Gloria and Rosario’s. (Potential motto: Money for nothing and the chips for free?)

The broad, beautiful, gaudy and gorgeous spread of San Antonio culture, from the River Walk to the Pearl to Candlelight. Ten million cups of Candlelight coffee. (He counted)

Existential crises occurred. Implosions and explosions. Days of severe introversion and extroversion. Feminist rage. Aesthetic awe (courtesy of Wes Anderson, Florence and the Machine, et al).

Faith. Doubt. A safe harbor somewhere in between.

And, of course, a thousand inside jokes, one of which he’s putting in here just for the amusement of his roommate: “Shrek!”

And what, pray tell, did he give? The last full measure of academic and extracurricular dedication. Untold hours of drafting and re-drafting, writing and rewriting—much of it undertaken in the Campus Pub newsroom or the briskly cold, eternally quiet “BR” section of Coates Library. Endless opinions, right and wrong, on issues both personal and political. Frequent explosions of enthusiasm in English seminars. Rare attempts at athleticism on a Bell Center treadmill.

Most importantly, for the first time in his life, Mason gave his true self—his true intellect, his true sexuality, his true attitudes. This was due largely to the people, both at Trinity and elsewhere, who were willing to receive that self.

These people have his eternal thanks, and whenever he ruminates upon these four years of becoming-and-belonging, he will think fondly of them.

Above all else, what did he learn?

Forster: “Only connect.”

And what final words come to mind before he logs off of this computer, teary-eyed and full-hearted, on April 27, 2015?

Fittingly enough, two sentences from Joyce’s “Ithaca”: “He rests. He has traveled.”

And he thanks you all for the journey.