How do I even begin to start writing? How do I even begin to process and reflect upon everything that has happened over the past week? Where do I go from here?
In a single week, my life, along with everyone else’s, has gone to utter chaos. A week ago, I was planning my last spring break plans to visit New York, visit some law firms, and enjoy time with my friends. I was thinking about working on my finals, outlining my last papers, heading to work at the shop, and just enjoying campus for the last two weeks before I go away for a bit.
Yet, like every single one of my peers, I’ve had my motivation sapped, energy disappear, and sadness just overcome everything I’ve done. I don’t know how to write about it, but I’ll just share my disheveled thoughts in the best way I can.
I could go throughout the week, breaking down everything, trying to catalog it all, but I don’t want to. The world for me on Wednesday fell still. In the span of literally 30 minutes, we got the notice that school was to be evacuated if you could leave, the NBA suspended its season, and Tom Hanks shared that he had the virus. Everything in the world just seemed to stop for me. I went utterly numb for the rest of the day and for much of the last three days. What joy and excitement I had for my last two papers was gone almost immediately, and for almost all of the days since, I have done no school work whatsoever. My anxiousness about seemingly everything has just paralyzed my ability to really focused to write or solve an integral.
To be completely honest, classes are nowhere near the front of my mind and may not be for a long time. We’ve had to figure out how to move out in the span of days, plan how to get home and decide what to bring back and leave for the next seven months.
But, none of that really is important.
What’s really making this so difficult is saying goodbye.
I’m spending the last few moments some of my close friends for the foreseeable future. These were the people who always accepted me at my best, worst, and everything in between. They support me when I’d cry when I yelled, or when I accomplished a goal of mine. From roaming around downtown to Chinatown runs, to the late, late, late Reg nights, or the days where y’all would come visit me at work for snacks (really every day), I appreciated every single moment together. I’m saying goodbye to my black cultural org friends, the people who helped me find my own space in a way I could have never anticipated in a place like this campus. I’m saying goodbye to my house friends, the people who I’ve lived with and gotten the chance to connect with through house events and just around the building.
The toughest part about leaving though has been having to say goodbye to the seniors at work, the college parents I could never have dreamed of. I never will get to experience spring with them of warm weather, iced mochas (however frustrating they are to make), and just talk about the world. Yes, they will all remain a part of my life, but it hurts so much to have to know it is the end. I’ve written about my job and what being a barista has meant to me, but to have our emergency formal last night broke me. I finally came to feel in my heart how much all of the people I work with and my job meant to me. Even as I spare myself from tearing up as I write this, what they gave me was the confidence that I could do this college expedition. The wisdom, jokes, memes, political hot takes, it all happened at the barista table or behind the bar. And, however sad this end maybe, I am so grateful I took advantage of my job, and I cannot wait for the fall.
I think that last sentiment really does speak towards how grateful I’ve been to be at UChicago. I really believe I did everything I possibly could and took advantage of every opportunity I could find. From going to Iowa, hearing presidential candidates, meeting new people, getting my job, I regret absolutely nothing from this whole first year here. If anything, my emotions as we all are going through this abrupt end has confirmed for me that I love this place. As I go back to my permanent address, I’ll know that truthfully, this place, Hyde Park, UC, Chicago, really is my home. I’ll miss you all and I thank you for making this start to college truly the first year I dreamed about my whole life. I’ll see you all in October…