To the senior class: it’s still our year
Letter to the Editor | Monday, August 24, 2020
Classmates and friends,
Over our last three years, we’ve shared some outstanding memories and watched previous seniors create their own. As the experiences cumulated, we could envision what the fall semester of our senior year at Notre Dame would entail.
It would have been welcoming the first-year students into your dorm culture. It would have been our last string of home tailgates as students. It would have been intimate discussions in classes full of friends and acquaintances. It would have been one final shot at an interhall championship. It would have been mentoring younger friends in your section. It would have been nights out at Olf’s and Newf’s. And for the delusional but admirably hopeful, it might have been Feve.
That year would have been a lot of great things — all these and many more — a culminating journey together before turning to our next chapter. But, as the last few months and weeks have drawn on, and as Tuesday’s update confirmed, one thing has become patently clear:
This year will not look like that year.
And I’ve found myself struggling to get over that. The tailgates, the section dinners, the nights out — it’s not easy to let them go. To me, there are three ways forward (and I find the first one more tempting than I’d like to admit):
1. Wallow in disappointment and frustration, partly for how testing and contact tracing were managed last week
2. Take advantage of what I thought we’d have while I still can (the bars, the house parties, etc.)
3. Recalibrate my expectations for senior year
I think of it like a McGlinn casino night. We’ve got a bad hand. To choose the first option is to fold and walk home. To choose option two is to go all-in with nothing but a six as your high card, running out of cash and getting tossed out well before closing time. To choose the third is to play patiently, to keep your seat at the table, to engage in every hand while keenly preserving your chips for the next deal — not as glamorous as we’ve seen previous seniors play — still enjoying your time until the night’s expected conclusion.
But remember — it is still our year.
What does it look like to pick option three? We’ve already internalized it (hang out mostly with roommates, wear a mask when you’re with other friends, stay outside and fairly distanced), but now let’s actualize it. What could our senior year still be?
Picnics with friends — just bring your own food. Drinks on your patio — just keep a mask on when you’re not taking a sip. Connecting with your different social circles — just hang out with a few friends at a time. Soak up time with roommates and friends from the dorm — just head outside while the weather’s nice and keep the masks on.
And, from what I’ve heard down the line, if these two weeks go well, much more is possible. Free food trucks on the quad, happy hours at the Morris Inn patio, outdoor movie nights — all distanced, all masked up — remain on the table.
There’s a lot left in the deck — it just depends on how we play our hand. That’s why I’ll choose option three: to play patiently, to get creative with the cards we’ve been dealt, to enjoy every present moment while remaining mindful of our next.
This won’t be the year we expected, but it’s still our year.
From a social distance,
class president, senior
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.