Brett and Butter

By Brett Marlow

When I came to Columbia in the fall of 2006, I was a tool. The big city was new to me, and I thought the most ridiculous things were cool. I wore “regular” sized pants and thought checkered Vans were the shiz. Oh, how things have changed.

When an instructor of mine who had me in his class my first semester joined The Chronicle as an adviser, I remember the first thing he said to me was that I had changed for the better. I went from being a quiet introvert to an outspoken (crazy) person.

While the future is uncertain, I’ve never felt more sure of my decision to come to Columbia, and to Chicago. I’m not one for the traditional experiences, and Columbia and this city have proven to be rather unconventional.

While I will take some credit for having the drive and determination to get to this point, it wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement, lessons and humor of a lot of people.

Mick Dumke and Natalie Moore: You two were some of the best teachers I’ve ever had. You both really showed me what journalism was all about and helped prove to myself that I could do it. Without your encouragement and guidance, I would have switched majors.

Elizabeth Owens-Schiele, Candi Merriweather, John Myers, Jeff Lyon, Betsy Edgerton, Sam Roe, Dave Berner and Bonnie Booth: Thank you all. Even though I never had you for a class Betsy, I wish I had. Nancy Day, thanks for the laughs! Sorry about, LA but I’ll come back and teach those classes any day.

Dan Sinker and Len Strazewski: Thank you both for rattling everything I thought I knew about journalism. Your classes were eye-opening, invaluable experiences.

Pamela McKuen: Pam, I love you. You are sophisticated, hilarious and a writer I truly admire. Who else would recommend me as a “skinny jeans expert” and want to chit-chat about our cats?

And while I wasn’t in class, I weaseled my way into a job at The Chronicle, which would have driven me kind of crazy if it weren’t for a few people.

Alison: I don’t think my second semester would have been tolerable without you beside me cracking jokes and listening to me whine about my failing relationship. I still miss our bus rides to Union Station and Jamba Juice. Remember when I couldn’t smoke a cigarette? You’ll be proud to know I’ve switched to Parliaments.

Chrissy: Oh my God, gurl. Even though I creeped you out when you were Managing Editor, I am so glad you and I became friends quickly afterward. You are one of a kind, my dear. I’ll forever remember you screaming “Ween!” out of The Chronicle window when you spotted, well you know what happened …

Leah: Lunches at Tamarind and feeding the meter. If only they knew what we talked about on our little breaks.

Kimi: I remember the first time I saw you. You were late and just back from LA and I thought you were a snob. I’m glad I weaseled my way into being your friend. It’s been crazy ever since.

Beth: If only everyone had someone like you in their life, this world would be a much happier place. “Jingle Bells.” That’s all I’m gonna say.

Meryl: I am so glad I met you. There’s never a dull moment with us. With our laughs combined, we are obnoxiously annoying.

Megan and Molly: I’m glad I’ve found a) a girl who loves her swoop as much as this boy does and b) someone who loves Liz Phair and “Beverly Hills 90210” as much as I do. “Donna Martin will graduate!”

Lauren, Jess, Sara, Billy and Chris: Well, I’ve sat by you guys for about three years now and I’m not sure how you’ve tolerated my myriad of idiosyncrasies. Between me blasting “Bleeding Love” all summer long and dancing around the office like a maniac, my outlandish comments and my overall insanity, I’m glad we all pulled through. Thank you! To everyone else at The Chronicle, I extend the same thanks.

And when I wasn’t writing and trying to meet deadlines, there were more people who kept me sane.

Jon-Anders: Dude, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to say thank you, but without your support recently, I’d be in the looney bin. You’ve been a true friend, and someone I am so glad to know. But I’m sure you already knew that since you read me so well!

Liz Phair: This one may seem odd, but if this lady never played so many gigs in Chicago, I probably would have never fallen so in love with the city and moved here. You still owe me a drink at Rainbo, by the way.

Roz: Thank you so much for stopping me on the way into the building. You are one great woman! I’ll get my alumni card, I promise.

Starbucks crew: Thank you for knowing my drink order every weekday morning and practically having it ready. I’ve invested a lot in your store the past three years.

Mom, Blake, Nana and the rest of my loving family: Thank you so much for your unconditional support and love. Even though I’m 1,200 miles away, I’ve never felt closer to you all than I did when I moved here. It’s been quite the journey, and without your support, care packages nearly every week and your listening ears, I don’t know what I would have done. You are seriously the best family, ever.

Dad: I’ll make you proud, I promise.