Photo Courtesy of Graydon Wood

Party Like its the End of the World

I told my mom I just wanted to go home, back to my Mod, as I blinked back tears and almost felt stupid for wanting to cry. But when I walked in on my roommate sobbing in the doorway, I couldn’t blame her. 

So instead, I joined her.      

After crying and doing our best to console one another, we decided we needed—no, we deserved—a bottle of wine to drown our sorrows in, and we weren’t the only ones with that idea. That evening marked the beginning of the end and kicked off a class-wide, five-day bender where students coped the best way we knew how: by partying.

It didn’t take long for the Mods to fill with students, something akin to tailgate season but with an added smack of anarchy. ResLife staff and BCPD quickly responded, attempting to maintain some semblance of control amidst the chaos. Students were ushered inside, asked to keep open containers indoors, or to turn their music down, but the fear of consequence was gone. It became a bitter, running joke for the next five days: What are they going to do, kick us out? Corona already took care of that for them. 

Some students took this bitterness to an extreme, with multiple incidents of vandalism taking place across campus. Mods were egged, stones were thrown through centuries-old stained glass in Gasson, white handprints were smeared across Mods and academic buildings alike, and signs and graffiti cropped up across campus declaring the Class of 2020’s refusal to donate as alumni.

It was a blur that didn’t leave much room for emotional processing, but taking a step back, I have never felt closer to my classmates than I did in those last few days. It’s oddly comforting knowing that every person around you feels the same way you do: uncertain about the future, horribly sad, and only feeling somewhat happy again when surrounded by close friends, neighbors, and even classmates you may not have known that well.

However, this comfort through community may have also contributed to the spread of the very virus that closed our university in the first place. While Father Leahy’s initial email declared no BC students had been formally diagnosed, it wasn’t long after the campus closure that news broke of students who had contracted the virus. The majority of those who were officially diagnosed with COVID-19 had recently returned from studying abroad (where the virus had already begun to ramp up), but many more students experienced symptoms without a diagnosis. 

At the time of BC’s closure, the full extent of the virus’s spread in the United States was still unclear, with even the president denying the severity of risk in a tweet on March 9. 

When you’re forced to confront those feelings earlier than expected, it forces you to realize what (and who) is important to you. In those last five days, who did you spend the most time with? Who did you take your senior portraits in Bapst or Gasson lawn with? Who did you vehemently seek out to explain just how important to you they are, and how much of an impact they had on you? Who did you hug the tightest while you cried?

Despite the unintended consequences of consistent mass gatherings amidst a budding global pandemic, I can’t bring myself to regret it. I managed to fill those five days with two months worth of experiences alongside my best friends, in a place that has inevitably changed my life. To paraphrase a favorite quote of mine, mourning the premature end to our senior year and separation from our lifelong college friends “is the price [we] pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

This article was originally released in May, 2020, as part of our special print edition, “Five Days,” one, final, tribute to the seniors of the Class of 2020.  If you would like to view the magazine in its entirety, you can find the entire digital edition published here