GATOR MEMORIES: GATOR TO GATORZ
Updated: Aug 6
You ever look at the new Chomper from 2015 and think he’s... kinda hot? I’m so glad I attended the college just in time for his design change. Not that his previous iteration wasn’t good but like, searching the crowd for him during fundraising events and being enveloped in those strong reptilian arms… wait what was I talking about?
Project: Chompers - Allegheny College
Truly, the smallest, most inane things in our lives can provide the most respite. When the chaos erupts, you can’t hold onto everything, but there are small things that you can save for yourself and for the people you care about every day and that is how you can continue living.
Hard to tell but this conversation takes place at the garden level of the Vukovich Communication Arts Building, a place where I did a lot of thinking, wistfully looking across the moving campus and the horizon beyond like a melodramatic anime character. You know, typical college student stuff.
I always got mad at people who bragged that they had peed in the Gator’s mouth for no reason other than its mouth was wide and waiting to be filled. The thought still makes me laugh, though. This is why I cringed every time I saw a new family entering Allegheny lovingly posing next to the gator statue, which had definitely been peed on in the last 72 hours. Good thing Chompers always cheers for school water sports (BA-DUM-TSH etc).
When the Plaza Compass landmark was installed nearby Carr people found a new target and left the Gator alone for a little bit.
I’d like to think the peeing on the Gator is a time-honored tradition for Allegheny students. Much like removing that one board from the bridge behind Ford Chapel or running through the secret tunnels under Oddfellows.
When it’s safe again I expect there will be a line stretching across campus, everyone eager to see the smiling Gator statue, welcoming all students with its open smile.
This was the last strip of Gatorz! I made it just about when I started working at Best Buy which was better than Home Depot at least. I was looking through my email archives with the editors at the time and unfortunately it looks like I ghosted them and didn’t let them know I was formally quitting. OOPS. Communication is important folks.
It seemed fitting to end this strip with a reflection on a more serious and real anxiety that college students, across all academic years, face at some point. With summer looming now, and internships/graduate school/GREs on hold, we seem to be in a cliffhanger with no cathartic moment in sight.
More and more I see these sentiments reflected in the complex scoping out of and optics involved in how prospective high school students decide which college to attend. The frustrations with unfettered corporate greed, dwindling access to low interest loans for higher education, and more importantly, what the individual is supposed to do with all of this pent up dread and angst when confronting these unsolvable problems is sometimes overwhelming.
“Is College worth it?” is definitely a conversation that needs to be constantly revisited and it’s different for each individual, at various points in their life. I think it's the moments of levity between the many earth-shaking epiphanies we have in our lives, however, that provide clarity on what we decide to do next.
Ending the comic strip above on a joke, a suggestion to “just relax”, was not to trivialize the character’s issue, but rather, encouragement not to overthink an issue and become paralyzed by despair. Instead, it's better to take some time and process your options (there are always options) to discover the answer for the moment, wherever it may take you. Even if it, metaphorically speaking, leads you to the open mouth of a Gator.
I sometimes wonder what Gatorz could’ve been had I started it during my first year at Allegheny instead of doing Simple Things. Would it have captured college experience in a more “authentic” and raw way? Truthfully, I’m relieved I made it only when I had enough of my own experiences of college to inform the writing.
I haven’t made many comics I’m ready to share these days, but if anything, I hope this shows what can happen if you stick it out, despite all doubts, and just keep making things. Sometimes creative constraints can be the most freeing things. In any case I hope these funny pictures made you smile!
To Ishita and the Branding & Storytelling class, this blog is a fun idea! I hope more Allegheny alumni tell their stories. It is through communication, crossing the barriers, finding common humanity, expressing ourselves, and becoming vulnerable for a moment, that change can occur. We can become each other’s markers, guides in the darkness, leading each other into the light.
Thanks for reading! And a special thank you to The Campus newspaper team -- past and present -- for providing the platform for students like me to find their voice.
~~ Jonathan Yee (Class of '17. Art Major. Computer Science Minor)
WE HOPE JONATHAN'S PHILOSOPHICAL MUSINGS AND ART HAVE INSPIRED YOU TO CONSIDER MAKING A GIFT OF YOUR OWN GATOR STORY, AND/OR A DONATION TO FELLOW GATORS IN NEED. THANK YOU!