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hope springs eternal by Alan Z. '23

a warm feeling

It’s a beautiful day today in Boston, and looking out the window at the Charles River, recently covered in snow, I can’t help but feel anything but a kind of pure, unadulterated hope for the coming semester. It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt in a long time—even the most exciting of events in past semesters have been tempered by the ongoing gloom of our physical separation. But, right now, it feels like spring has come.

spring as pictured from a lounge

It is, of course, not yet spring here in Boston,01 indeed, as i write this, there are another few inches of snow forecast for tomorrow and it may be a few more weeks before we see leaves begin to return to the trees, which have sat barren all winter. But, here on campus, there are already signs of life. People have, slowly but surely, began to trickle in: I see packing boxes, suitcases rolling into Next House; I hear people talking in rooms which have sat empty for around 11 months now. Soon, even more folks will rush in, and even though I know that it is not everyone, and I know that there will continue to be restrictions, I cannot help but be buoyed by the thought of meeting (or at least seeing) new people in the hallways.

It will be hard for us to recover after such a long winter; the thaw will necessarily be slow as the pandemic continues to rage, and in a place where most students are only here for four years, the institutional memory of student groups and dorm culture fades fast. But what will really matter is whether or not we have forgotten how to genuinely care for one another, and on that front, I have little doubt. One of Next Exec’s02 our dorm government, of which I am currently one of the VPs primary missions this semester is to not just keep our communities alive, but to make sure they include our new residents. Just yesterday, I called some friends from my wing of Next House, 4W, and beyond our normal shenanigans, we planned for the continuity of a variety of our traditions, such as door signs and (socially distanced) walks. Soon, there will be many new Nexties, and many new Shirefolk,03 the demonym for our wing and we hope that they, too, will feel welcome here.

The cynic in me is still a little skeptical; it reminds me that, before each semester, I am always excited for my classes,04 as I am now, especially since I'm taking 23 less units than last semester and adding on some more interesting work, like Next Exec and that there always comes a point in the semester where I transition to being more excited about my next semester’s classes. But, at least for today, I could not care less about it thinks. The sun is streaming in through the window, and its brightness warms my spirit. As the oft-quoted Emily Dickinson poem goes:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Hope has been quiet for a little while now. But as the spring approaches once again, it begins to sing once more.

  1. indeed, as i write this, there are another few inches of snow forecast for tomorrow back to text
  2. our dorm government, of which I am currently one of the VPs back to text
  3. the demonym for our wing back to text
  4. as I am now, especially since I'm taking 23 less units than last semester and adding on some more interesting work, like Next Exec back to text