The Gavel's Diatribe acts as the satirical medium for short rants over topics ranging from complete triviality to utmost importance.
One of the worst things COVID took away from the college experience was the aspect of connection. I have always been someone who loves to meet new people, has different circles of friends and enjoys getting involved in activities that fuel my passions. However, since we entered a pandemic that seems to have no end, chasing my favorite parts of life has become complicated, frustrating, and utterly lackluster.
Last year, as a freshman who had high hopes for what college life would be like, I found myself being able to count the number of people I knew well on both hands. I would see faces I recognized, but wouldn’t be able to say hi because we had only ever seen each other through a screen, and maybe they didn’t know who I was. In all honesty, it brought a new aura of forget-ability. I felt invisible; I wanted to reach out to these people on the other side of our chatty weekly zoom meetings, but I’d pass someone familiar on my walk home and couldn’t fully discern if it was them under the mask, retreating into silence and remaining strangers. I’m not even sure if ‘strangers’ is the right word; we had seen each other’s faces on our screens, knew who we were and where we were from, but I’d find myself staring at someone in the library for a little too long, thinking it might’ve been that same face from my computer screen, but too nervous to say anything. I’d walk into the dining hall and see someone in an unmistakable matching pink sweatshirt that our club handed out, but wouldn’t recognize the face under the mask with whom I spent a virtual hour each week. It felt like friendships were passing me by, and I could do nothing to stop that sense of invisibility from sinking in.
Thankfully, time goes on, and with passing time comes new opportunities. This year, we were met with our newest sense of “normalcy”. One where we were still expected to be cautious, get tested and wear masks in crowded places, but at the same time where I would sit next to two of my soon-to-be closest friends in one of my classes, wave to recently-met members of my club and sit down for lunch with new people. It was a new reality where close friendships with seniors made that aura of invisibility feel slightly less suffocating. It no longer felt like I was navigating emerging adulthood on my own; Every Monday I would ask the girl sitting next to me at my club meeting what day she wanted to go on our weekly walk. I could turn to the other side and ask another girl if she wanted to do our planned ‘talk swap’ soon. I could look forward to taking a break from schoolwork to watch the Bachelorette every Wednesday at a friend’s place. I could text the girl I looked at in the library for a little too long to ask her if she wanted to grab breakfast because I needed some advice. I could even cautiously shout the name of someone who I recognized, just to have her turn around excitedly and offer me a hug.
It’s tough to think about parting ways with some of my closest friends after the class of 2022 leaves the Heights and graduates in a few short months. Some of my favorite faces, my most consistent hugs and big presences in my favorite clubs on campus will be part of that “real adult” cohort that BC produces each year. There was no shortage of life advice, class recommendations, and encouragement from every upperclassman friend I made over the last virtual year and this first “normal” year. It’s strange, thinking that as a sophomore, this is the first year where I truly made connections with people outside of my class, stepped foot in mods owned by friends and had really wonderful examples of the kind of person BC can make me.