UNIT 10 Saying Goodbye
Integrated Skills Development
Passage A Beginning and an End
"I've forgotten the last time that I cried. But I really can not cheer up now," said Philip, a graduate majoring in physics at a state university.
Philip drank a lot of wine while having supper with a few friends. Being half drunk, he was speaking from the bottom of his heart.
As the end of their academic career approaches, some soon-to-be graduates become sad and drown their sorrows in alcohol.
They find a restaurant, order a few dishes and beer and settle down to chat. Though excited at the start of the evening, they gradually become depressed.
Are these graduates simply uncertain of the future, or do they feel hopeless of the future?
One student said, "By now, almost everybody has found a job. No need to consider it further. And the graduation papers are nearly finished. They just need polishing and a printing of the final draft."
A psychology professor gave a deeper explanation. "The four years at college are quite special and important to students. They study and live together in these years. From the time when they gathered as freshmen at the very beginning, everything was new, and anything was possible. Now, it is ending, and they'll go their different ways. They know nothing about their future except one thing — that what is outside campus is different from their colleges or universities."
"It is college life that teaches them to say goodbye to immaturity and makes them relatively independent little by little. They treasure this period of time when they experience happiness, sadness, love, friendship, hopes and loneliness. When faced with its end, they find it difficult to accept the reality. So they drink, and even cry."
Philip added, "Three years ago, I was still a freshman. A senior in my department told me not to waste my time. His words are still ringing in my ears now. Looking back to the past years, I've no regrets from my four years. That's enough. Unfortunately, I've spent a lot of time in vain. Now it's time for me to warn others."
David, a teacher from the university, said. "This is understandable. After all, I was once a college student myself. However, I don't think it's good to drink and chat all day and night. These students' parents are paying for their education. To eat and drink as they do is a real waste. It's also bad for their health. They should find some better ways to enjoy their last moments at college."
New Words and Expressions
from the bottom of one's heart
little by little
Mark Twain, a famous American writer was also a famous humorist. He liked to tell funny stories, and play jokes on his friends. One day, a friend of his lost his money and asked Twain to buy a railroad ticket for him.
Twain said, "I'm sorry, but it happens that I have very little money with me. I don't have money to buy both your ticket and mine."
The friend was very sad.
"However," said Twain, "you can get on the train with me and, when the conductor comes to collect the tickets, you can hide under my seat."
The friend had no other alternative, so he finally agreed to this plan. Later, however, when the conductor came, Twain gave him two tickets, one for himself and one for his friend.
Then in a loud voice, so that everybody around could hear him, Twain explained, "My friend is a very strange fellow. When he rides on a train, he doesn't like to sit on the seat. He prefers to lie on the floor under the seat."
Of course, everybody then looked at the poor fellow under the seat and laughed at him loudly.