Orange Alert

Fall Priorities

The Hall of Languages with red flowers in the foreground.

Posted on: Aug. 30, 2021

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to a new fall semester and to the campus life we’ve been looking forward to… one where we can again see each other in person and enjoy the activities that we have all so missed. Yes, the battle against COVID is still being waged, and we all must remain vigilant to keep each other safe, but we’ve come a very long way since last year.

Our return to relative normalcy is a fortuitous coincidence with the start of a new academic year. Because we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on what’s most important to us, we are now in the perfect moment and place to fulfill our rediscovered potential. But how to get started in a world that feels simultaneously familiar yet so new?

Well, Mahatma Ghandi said that “Action expresses priorities.” I couldn’t agree more. Whatever feels most important to you after this past year and a half, take action and make it a priority! No goal is too big or too small. For some, it could mean changing a major or adding a new one. For others, it could be volunteering for a cause that matters to you, attending more events, planning a semester abroad or just interacting more with professors or peers. Soon, you will be hearing about our new Edge initiative, which will give you special certification for completing certain experiential learning. Stay tuned!

I also ask that you make people—peers, professors, professional staff—a priority. As we move forward with so much purpose and gratitude, please remember that we are still forging through a sometimes-stressful landscape. Therefore, treat yourselves and others gently and with empathy whenever you can. Practice patience with fellow students or colleagues; check in with someone you think might be struggling; and make sure to avail yourself of the mental health or spiritual resources available on campus. By making your own well-being a priority, you’ll be able to more fully and purposefully enjoy your time here at Arts and Sciences.

Here’s to a promising new semester!