A season of change
Simon Vogel | Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Once again, it is fall in the Bend.
According to the sun, the Earth and the Encyclopedia Britannica, this means that on Sept. 22 the sun’s annual pathway and the celestial equator intersected, and that the division between night and day was equal. According to us students, this means themed Starbucks drinks, hoodies and scarves, midterms, falling leaves, the permacloud and football weekends.
I know it is not a hot take to love fall — I recently saw a fellow classmate spend an entire 75-minute lecture populating her autumn-themed Pinterest board — but I really think that this season is special; and special beyond the cliché, though admittedly pretty great perks of the trees turning incredible colors and the weather finally being something other than scorchingly hot.
I think fall is special because of how much change is tied to it.
Obviously, at a surface level, we have the changing of the leaves: A generation of chlorophyll decays beautifully and the leaves turn from green to red, then orange to brown. And they take their time! Which is awfully considerate of them, considering how much we love our autumnal photos.
But more symbolically, fall tends to accompany us into periods of drastic change in our lives. It was fall when we transitioned from middle school to our high schools. It was fall when we started slipping into friend groups and into the routine of college classes after we first arrived on campus, when we started to figure out what we wanted to do while we were here for four long years.
Because of this, for me, fall always symbolizes a bunch of firsts. Fall was sliding along the first time I felt homesick and the first time I questioned why midterms weren’t, in fact, during the middle of the semester. The first time I dressed up in a toga and danced to Ke$ha, the first time I was a fully autonomous adult and responsible for my own well-being, the first bombed college test and the first Halloween spent far from home all took place during the fall.
I find the firsts exciting. They remind me of a first-year student that saw everything about campus differently. He thought dining hall pasta was the greatest thing ever and that paying for parties was worth it. Sometimes I miss that naïveté.
This all leads me to one of my favorite things to do during fall on campus, and I really encourage anyone to do the same. It is to seek out some firsts. This is obviously much easier for first-years, but it applies to upperclassmen as well. Explore a building that you’ve never been in. Did you know Jenkins-Nanovic has showers in the basement? Did you know there’s a gorgeous atrium in the middle of Hayes-Healy that you’re allowed to go into? Go somewhere on campus you’ve never gone. There are beautiful stations of the cross around St. Joseph’s Lake. Maybe disappoint yourself for the first time with the dining hall breadsticks or grilled chicken. Attend your first just-for-fun guest lecture outside of class — Notre Dame really loves its guest lectures. I don’t mean to beat the idea to death, but these little firsts, I think, are what make fall by far the best season of the year. Well, them and pumpkin spice lattes, I suppose.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.