A short letter for tired students
Renee Yaseen | Monday, November 9, 2020
Nothing tasted sweeter than the capri-suns and orange slices passed from hand to hand after my elementary school soccer games. Do you remember? Water bottles dripping wet from a minivan’s melting cooler, air smelling like Kentucky blue grass and making everything kind of taste like it. You may have similar memories. A hug from a teammate after a big trivia team win (or loss). Consolation fast food in a friend’s car after a tough day. Unexpected congratulations, flowers at the stage door from someone you never expected would make it.
In isolation — a word which takes on new meaning this semester — these moments don’t seem to seriously affect our ability to do our jobs. Play our games. Take our tests, run our meetings, sing our solos. We don’t expect these small delicious graces — orange slices and flowers after every challenge or success — and we could technically carry on without them for some time. But, as the suburban mom cohort is so quick to remind us in well-meaning Facebook posts, “love is in the small things” — it’s in moments of sharing.
After a long, difficult year in which many of these traditionally comforting surprises are not possible in the way we once knew, I wish I could pass a proverbial orange slice to everyone in the world. We are tired, we have grieved and many of us (especially us younger folk, weaving in and out of one important milestone to the next) are dismayed at the echoes of how we imagined things would turn out differently, had we not endured this global pandemic, 250,000 American deaths, and the realization that our nation is more angry, more divided, and more politically polarized than ever before.
This week’s column is nothing more than an honest reminder to you and to myself to safely take joy in what you can this winter.
If you want to sleep nine plus hours a night while you can, absolutely go for it! You don’t have to grab an internship to fill every waking second, and I hope you won’t feel guilty if you don’t. Read a book, for yourself or aloud to a friend. Watch a funny movie. Compliment strangers. Make desserts. Eat them. Sing. Hug those closest to you (especially if you’ve been avoiding close contacts for the past four months) and enjoy the beauty of the falling snow. Step away from your phone. You deserve to reconnect with the moments of childlike wonder that we are often prevented from feeling during periods of hard work and stress.
I know as a nation, we can begin to move toward a collective place of celebration again. And I hope when you eat oranges this winter that you are reminded of the small things, of the kindness of a PTA mom at halftime at your childhood soccer games, and of the tiny-yet-impactful gifts of togetherness we will reap soon.
Till next semester, be well.
Renee Yaseen is a junior who majors in international economics and Arabic. She’s currently on a gap semester doing lots of creative stuff and lots of un-creative stuff. She can be reached via the chat on a shared Google Doc at 3 a.m., on Twitter @ReneeYaseen or by email at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.