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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Zach Mitchell Remembered

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Zach was one of the first people that I met at Carleton, one of my first friends. We lived on the same freshman floor, and my first impression was that he was argumentative. In fact, it was something that everyone on my floor had in common. So, we would stay up late playing Set and arguing about current topics, and most importantly, procrastinating. It became a tradition, one that Zach perpetuated. He adamantly and even stubbornly would argue his view till we went to bed. To the point where he sometimes drove me up a wall. But, this is exactly what I loved about him.

This is a perfect representation of who Zach was. He was passionate about everything he committed to. His opinions, his schoolwork, and, most importantly, his friends. College is a time when we are given leeway about selfishness. We have no real responsibilities. We have no families to support or careers. We are told to worry about what is best for us and our futures. There is really no need to consider others. But Zach was never like that. He was caring and genuine. He was an amazingly supportive friend. Always around when I needed to talk, or help moving boxes even though I lived on fourth Sevy and the elevator only went to third. He was unfailing in his loyalty.

At one point when Zach and I were Skyping over the summer, I pestered him with many questions about his condition and how he was feeling and then he asked me how I was doing. I answered with a generic ‘fine’. But he skeptically stared until I answered. I explained that it felt silly to complain about the little skirmishes that were occurring at my summer job. He shook his head and said: “The moment that I stop caring about my friends’ lives is when this disease has truly beaten me”. So we argued just like always, about Bernie Sanders and vegetarianism. He always thought it was hilarious that I do not eat meat, even with an allergy that constrains my diet.

To be honest, Zach would have hated this article. Mostly because he disliked The Carletonian. Zach in all of his perfectionist glory would point out every typpo and misprinted fact. But, Zach loved Carleton. He threw himself into every club. CANOE, Model UN, Farm, Rugby. He dove into the fray for Schiller, and freshman year he had already started to create a Silent Dance Party list for his senior year. Even as Zach started to become sick, he would insist on eating in the dining hall with his friends and every time he felt well enough he came back for classes.

Zach was always brave, and incredibly hopeful. He never let his disease prevent him from planning for the future. He was constantly talking about CANOE trips that we would take and geology projects that he would begin. And when he realized that he would be spending an extra year at Carleton due to his treatment, he took his extra time at school to pick up a second major. There was never a transition from “when I come back to Carleton” to “if I come back to Carleton”. This is very much where he wanted to be till the end.

It is genuinely unfair. Zach would have made a difference in the larger world. He had already pushed all of his friends to care more about what they were doing, to take pride in their point of view and in every detail, no matter how insignificant it seemed at the time (maybe with the exception of cleaning his room). He would never abandon an argument no matter how minute the subject matter, and likewise he would never let down his friends. One of the last things that he told me is that he felt as though he was giving up when he stopped treatment. But, this is the furthest thing from the truth. He fought harder than his doctors ever thought he could. No matter what we called him Zach “Zachariah Crate Dundas” Mitchell was an incredible friend, and we miss him already. 

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