To My Fellow Saints,
The past six months have been a wild ride. From losing Sienafest and half a semester, to all the other losses that have occurred in your life and mine due to COVID-19. I write this letter to ask you to be a part of us not losing something else. This semester is unprecedented. It is unlike any other we have had before, and probably will ever have in the future. This semester asks more of you than any other semester has, and I am asking you to rise up to the challenge.
College is hard to begin with. Making friends, keeping friends, missing home, staying on top of your classes, and remembering to eat are enough to stress out even the most grounded person. Now we have added a pandemic on top of that all. That includes remembering to wear a mask, navigating online classes, and waiting in long, six feet distanced lines for a meal that you only scheduled out 15 minutes for. Probably most challenging of all, we can’t hang out with our friends in the same way that we used to – the way that we waited all summer to. Right now there are no more than two guests allowed in any one residence at one time. No more nights of getting the whole friend group together to watch a movie. After a long and hard day, you want to bask in the smiling faces that make you feel like everything is okay, but you can’t because they are covered by some floral cotton. There is an awkwardness in every hug, because permission must be granted before what was once such a casual occurrence.
Some have started calling this the “new normal.” I refuse to accept that. It is unfair to expect someone to feel normal while wearing a mask next to their best friend. Constantly disinfecting and practicing social distancing aren’t going to suddenly feel natural just because we call it a “new normal.” None of this is normal. What it is, is a way to get back to some semblance of normalcy in the near future. This isn’t the new reality, it’s our journey to it.
You are being asked to make many sacrifices. I hate wearing my mask, but I love seeing my friends everyday to do homework together. My hands are dried out from sanitizer, but I can walk to the grotto at any point in the day if I am feeling overwhelmed. I run on hugs and have received far too few of them, but the best dinners are those spent with friends that you would otherwise be living six hours away from. To put it simply, this is worth it.
This is hard, and it sucks, but it sucks a whole lot less than spending five more months away from our friends and away from our campus. Let’s make the best of it. Let’s wash our hands and wear our masks and keep our distance. Let’s smile with our eyes and spend more time outside and cherish every day we spend with the people we care about by keeping them safe and holding them accountable to do the same for you. We made it here, what happens next is up to you.
A Fellow Saint