Seeing What Others Missed Out On

There are almost certainly Dickinson students who have never been to campus before. Some students—international students or those from the West Coast—probably did not have a chance to visit Dickinson before applying, and given the pandemic they might not have been able to visit after being accepted. Then the housing situation means that many students weren’t on campus at all this year. 

This is something I realized only recently—I had not thought seriously about those first-years who were not on campus this spring—despite spending so much time in the last year considering how the pandemic has changed college for me. For instance, I have not been on campus since after spring break in April and May. Perhaps the specific months that were spent on campus shouldn’t matter that much—after all, those of us sophomores who were on campus this semester have now had a year on campus in total. 

Yet, when I returned to campus last weekend (for a friend’s recital) it was a bit of a revelation. It was exciting for me to see the trees blooming, to smell spring air, and to see people about campus. Just those few hours on campus strengthened my connection to our campus and school—that memory will tether me to our school, and the place where it sits. If a specific season on campus could make that much of a difference, many first-years must feel adrift this year.

As we begin to look towards the end of the pandemic, I’m sure many of us will be excited to return to those experiences which we have missed and to catch up on those memories which we hadn’t had the chance to make. It’s only natural, and healthy—we should want to seize opportunities after (hopefully) a year-plus of patient self-control.  

Hopefully, each of us can also utilize this self-awareness to understand what others have lost, too, and empathize with one another. In our rush to get back to college the way each of us imagined it, we should all extend a hand to those around us so that they might build the same memories and attachments that we care so much about.