Beginner Mentality: Thank you, friends

These last two weeks have been a long train of emotions.

First, was the disbelief that our college experience would be cut short. Decisively short. Shortly after President Monaco released the decision that Tufts’ campus was closing, friends were already making plans to return after break, imagining some sort of online-class paradise. We now know that can’t really happen. It’s our responsibility to stay at home whether in Medford or around the world.

Next, there were many shades of fear — mortal, moral, existential and practical; would I be able to get home? Did I have coronavirus? Would people I know suffer and how could I handle that? After being at home for over a week, this has somewhat resolved, but my animal brain cannot let go. That is it’s duty after all — to preserve what it lays claim over. But, I’m no stranger to that persistent buzz. I can manage for now.

Finally, there has been profound sadness, loss, regret and nostalgia. Back at my parents’ house I feel like I’m back in high school, but the horizons have closed for now. Instead of looking forward, I’m looking back at moments which felt so close only two weeks ago and it breaks my heart to have them slip away. Two days was not enough time to say goodbye to the great glorious trees on the academic quad, the sun hitting West Hall on a warm afternoon, the buzz of the Tufts Daily office or the people whose company I had just begun to cherish and those I’ve loved for many years. Then, there are the silent uncountable moments which elude my memory. Yet, I get the feeling it’s okay to stew in this mixture — if only for a little while — because it’s beautiful to care about something enough to mourn it.

I feel hope rising up in me now, though. I am not one to say never to anything (how can we, given recent events?). I know that many of the people I’ve met will return to me again in a different form, awaiting the next chapter. I’m excited to see what we’ll do together.

I also hope that in our collective hour of darkness we can recognize the value we have in each other and use the moment to see what life is like when our precarious normalcy is fractured. In the coming century, we are going to have to contend with repairing our democracy, our economy and our global environment. If nothing else, let’s get to work so that we are not saying more untimely goodbyes.

I don’t ascribe to the belief that college should be the best years of your life; best is an impossible label to ascribe to anything examined closely enough. They are years lived and cherished. Let us look forward to the future where we can use all we’ve learned here.

So, thank you friends new and old for a great 3.75 years of living! Thank you to those trees which furnished shade for study, the stacks of books which divulged the world’s secrets, the professors whose minds are jewels to behold. Thank you to all who made Tufts a special place. In the words of Father John Misty: “Oh, friends, all my friends / Oh I hope you’re somewhere smiling / Just know I think about you more kindly than you and I have ever been / And I’ll see you next time round the bend.