[alternatively titled: nostalgic times call for nostalgic measures]
Since transitioning to not only living off-campus, but spending the school year staring at a computer screen, it’s hard to not become swaddled in nostalgia. I find myself reminiscing of on-campus life, traveling around STL, and just the experience of in-person events and classes.
So, in acknowledgement of those upperclassmen who have grown nostalgic (like myself) and for the current freshmen and sophomores who haven’t been able to experience a “normal” school year at WashU, here are a few of my favorite events/moments before the polar express* drove us into forced self-isolation.
First off, I miss WILD!!! The high energy, like a wave traveling through the dense throng of bodies. The music blasting and the voices of so many students molding together into one. The long line of people waiting to get a slice of pizza or a can of water. The smiles on my friends’ faces, the laughter.
I miss sitting in Edison Theater surrounded on either side by theater goers and a whisper of excitement for the show. I miss the hush that falls over everyone as the curtains open. The contagious and collective laughter, awe, and emotion. I miss the discussions that followed, filled with analysis and reflection.
I miss the long pews in Graham Chapel! That welcomed speakers, students, and staff alike into its open arms. I miss the important, integral conversations that filtered up and out into the balcony above. The silence as everyone listened to each speaker’s story and experience. The large, stoic chimes encircling them like a crown.
I miss lecture halls, tripping over feet as I made my way to my seat, music flowing from my earbuds and drowning out the sound of others hurriedly rushing around me to class, the crunch of leaves underfoot as I make my journey from the South 40 to Dunker Hall, clumsily searching for empty tables in the DUC, trying to be as quiet as a mouse while exiting Olin level 3, the smell of Subway filling my senses while taking a shortcut through Mallinkrodt, absentmindedly staring out the large glass windows in Simon facing out onto Mudd field when I should be listening to my professor, awkwardly running in the wrong direction on the indoors track in Sumers, wandering quietly from room to room of the Kemper Art Museum, and so much more.
I could go on and on, but then we’d both be here for days. And despite being exhaustively nostalgic, I am also incredibly grateful. Because those small moments (that I hadn’t even realized I would miss so much) have become a sort of reminder to cherish even the most small, mundane things.
So, instead of being sad about the current predicament*, I am actively choosing to find joy in the little things. In the cup of coffee I had this morning, in three-hour call I had with my mother and sisters last night, in the cute masks my mom continues to order for me, in the music constantly streaming through my small apartment, in the book I’ve finally gotten the chance to set aside time to read, and so on and so forth.
The point is: With everything zoom and the pandemonium* takes from us…it always gives something back in return. So cherish the things that seem insubstantial. And hopefully, one day soon, we’ll be all the more thankful for them and share in some re-emergence into “normalcy”.
*somewhere in my head, the pandemic does not exist
and I am somewhere sunny and warm.
so for the sake of my sanity, the “p” word is omitted