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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Tenzin Dorjee '20 in New York, New York

With the future of the novel coronavirus unpredictable, it seems like everything has changed in a heartbeat. It was not long before Middlebury, like many other institutions across the country, announced its decision to hold remote classes and asked its students to leave campus. The unfolding of such news brought waves of chaotic emotions, stress and sorrow to the student body, especially the senior class.

A goodbye to Middlebury.

The depth of the current crisis is impacting various aspects of all our lives, but its punch hit the senior class differently. As seniors, we still had roughly two-and-a-half months of our last semester remaining before we lost it all. We lost late nights with our friends. We lost the chance to enjoy our last semester in VT. Above all, we lost the senior events we were all waiting to celebrate to cap off our academic successes from our four years. On top of this, some of us lost the opportunity to perform in our final show, whether that was with dance, a cappella or a theatre group. Others, including myself, missed out on our spring break training trip with our team and the spring athletic season. We lost a great deal of our time at Middlebury, cutting short the last chapter of our college year. 

For us, this was truly a curveball. Only a few months ago, we started the fall semester and were thrilled about the upcoming year. I remember beginning my senior year with a bit of awe and a lot of mixed feelings. I was delighted it was my last year, yet devastated about the impending end. I was also amazed by how swiftly time flew and how my class had so quickly reached the final stretch of our college career. 

The sudden turn of events threw many of us into mourning. It stripped us of our time together and left us feeling speechless. It seemed like no words could ever properly convey our heartaches and the lingering uncertainty about graduation. The icing to all this bitterness was the loss of any sense of closure. We did not have the chance to conclude our final chapter as we saw fit. Instead, everything abruptly came two months early: the tears, the move out and the goodbyes. We rushed to fill the fleeting moments, trying to squeeze everything the next two months would have held into just the couple of days we had left together.

[pullquote speaker="" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]It is only a matter of time before this red light becomes green and the whirlwind will pass. [/pullquote]

This loss will likely leave a gap and a lingering sense of absence in us. And frankly, it sucks. It sucks that our last few months of college got screwed up. I'm sorry to those who missed out on their final performance. I'm sorry to the athletes who lost their season and the opportunity to be with their team. I'm sorry to the seniors who've been working tirelessly on their thesis. This is all still surreal and I'm sorry it happened to us.

Amidst all this despair though, I'm still hopeful about our class. I believe we can navigate through this ambiguous course. It certainly won't be easy, but we entered Middlebury during a tumultuous time and have weathered through it all these past three years. We've been resilient since our arrival and can continue to be as we move forward. Growing up, we learned about how the generations before us have witnessed similar troubling events. And like them, we are currently living through history, soon-to-be stories we speak of to future generations. It is only a matter of time before this red light becomes green and the whirlwind will pass. 

However, for now, it seems the loss we encountered is still the source of our grieving. This is not to detract from the larger issue but only to acknowledge and reassure our feelings are valid. Each of us has had undoubtedly distinct experiences on campus, but there is comfort in knowing that such a mishap has served as a bonding moment for us. And so, although we were afforded less time together than we expected and are deeply saddened by that,  I would like us to think of one of my favorite quotes as we reflect on our time at Middlebury: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Thank you Midd!

Submitted March 27, 2020.