Bridget Flaherty ’21
Growing up, my favorite time of year was those two weeks at the end of summer that revolve around the “Back to School” mentality. These two weeks symbolized change in the form of new clothes, freshly sharpened pencils, and a brand new locker combination to practice and memorize. The anticipation I felt for the first day of school was the closest my twelve year old self got to experiencing a thrill (I don’t ride roller coasters, so this was really all I had). “Back to School” took on a whole new level of excitement once I went to college. There was even more shopping to be done. There was the drama of saying goodbye to your friends from home and the drama of packing enough to survive but not so much that your room is basically one giant stackable bin.
This year has robbed us all of our Back to School season.“Back to School” was always a time of hope, excitement, transition, and potential. In a year when “Back to School” doesn’t exist, where do we get that rush of anticipation?
How do we communicate to our first years the pit in your stomach that emerges when you see your family minivan in the driveway, filled to the brim with pillows and picture frames and an absurd amount of those stackable bins. How do we show them how difficult it is to put a fitted sheet on a twin mattress without arguing with your mother and embarrassing yourself in front of your new roommate? How do we explain the heartbreak that comes with goodbye and the freedom that comes with hello? How do we pass on the collective feeling of despair one gets when your Orientation Leader suggests playing “Birdie on a Perch” or the sheer franticness one feels when trying to find a table in Kimball at primetime? So much of the college experience is nuanced and personal and special and revolting and beautiful and revealing. And, most importantly, it is both uniquely yours and painfully universal.
This year will offer us an incredibly unique college experience. What we will be missing in person, we will make up for remotely. We’ll make new shared experiences. We will all feel the awkwardness of a quiet breakout room that lasts a few minutes too long. We will all blush in anger when our siblings yell at each other in the background of class, interrupting what was undoubtedly a brilliant contribution by us. We will all pick out cute tops and pair them with pajama bottoms because Zoom crops us at the waist. We will all suffer headaches and promptly order a pair of blue light glasses. It will require some ingenuity and effort, but we will still share in a collective experience as students and as Crusaders.
It is officially Back to School season and it is the best time of the year, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.