A senior’s farewell to Pittsburgh

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I debated long and hard over what form this send-off would take; I’m not keen on listing my favorite accomplishments or favorite moments, but I am a fan of lists in general. Then I stumbled upon the Commencement website’s Senior Events Top 100 List, which detailed things you should do before you graduate. It includes such jewels as “Make an appointment with the career center to go over your résumé” and “Eat at Ginger’s Deli in Posner Hall.”

It’s important to check your résumé, certainly. I’ve definitely got a soft spot for Ginger’s tuna salad. But I’d much rather leave you with a list of the experiences and destinations that I’ve loved during my time here. Some of them are probably in the guidebooks or on Carnegie Mellon’s list, but they still made Carnegie Mellon worth four years of my life. They might do the same for you.

Go to a University of Pittsburgh football game at Heinz Field. You’re probably never going to get Steelers tickets, so why not settle for the next best thing? I went to see Pitt play Notre Dame. The place was filled and the fans were demented; I was exhausted, but loved it.

Go racing around Schenley Park at top speed at night in your car. Schenley Park is a like a miniature Autobahn course with hairpin turns and the payoff of a spectacular city view.

Go to the Cultural District for a show. Pittsburgh’s downtown might not be the liveliest place outside of rush hour, but the Cultural District is manageable, beautiful, and full of interesting acts. Heinz and the Benedum are my favorites for their jaw-dropping architecture and interiors.

Go to Little Italy Days in Bloomfield. Bloomfield is one of those neighborhoods that got stuck in a time warp around 1971. It’s gleefully anachronistic during its Little Italy Festival in the fall, when tiny old nuns come out and feed you cannoli.

Go to the Carnegie Library. Libraries don’t sound thrilling, but the Carnegie Library is historical and beautiful, like an old-fashioned film set. Carnegie Mellonites tend to overlook its potential usefulness for those end-of-term papers.

Go to Light Up Night. Finals tend not to leave much room for Christmas spirit, so why not get yourself in the mood early and go ice-skating in PPG Plaza? Plus, you can see at least 10 Christmas tree lightings and a once-a-year event: crowded downtown streets.

Go to Phipps Conservatory. Go to Phipps with a head full of worries about homework or jobs and it will soothe you quicker than a tranquilizer. My personal favorite is the Japanese garden.

Go to a Pirates game. PNC Park is consistently rated one of the nicest baseball parks in the country. Who cares if the team playing inside isn’t that great? Enjoy the view, the food, and the twelve year-olds sitting behind you.

Go up to Mount Washington. Not only is it a quirky community, but the view is everything those famed photographs make it out to be. Riding the incline there makes it even better.

Listen to the bagpipes on Monday nights. In balmy weather, the Carnegie Mellon bagpipers often gather in a circle on the Cut and practice while people are leaving meetings or late classes. As a Scot I may have a natural prejudice, but I can’t think of a common occurrence that reminds me more of Carnegie Mellon. I really will miss it.