I’m listening to Souk Eye by the Gorillaz while I write this. (You should play it for your new roommate if you want them to think you have a great taste in music.) One of my best friends, Ben, showed me the song right before he left Boston to move to New York City for the fall. As a senior, it’s easy to look back and reflect on how much has changed in the past three years. Unsurprisingly, Ben was one of the few people who remained a constant in my life. The first time we met, he was with his dad moving into our eight-person suite in Piano Row. Three nights later, we stole a Candy Land board game from a first year orientation event. When we got back, we command-stripped it to the back of my bedroom door as if it were a plaque commemorating the historic moment. We would go on to live together for two more years, moving the board with us from room to room until the coronavirus sent us all back home this March.
I know for certain this year is not going to allow for the quintessential college experience you all originally hoped for. But if there’s anything I do have faith in, it’s the fact that this school year will be one you’ll never forget. I’m sure you will leave freshman year with more 3 a.m. stories than you can count, and each will be funnier than the next.
I hope you still get to ride down the big blue slide at the Esplanade with your friends, and I hope you still walk to Bova’s—the only North End bakery worth your time—for red velvet Whoopie Pie sandwiches and lobster tails. I know you’ll still have plenty of serious talks while walking through the Public Garden, if not now more than ever before. Part of me is incredibly jealous of you all for having a Tatte to go to after skipping class, but another part of me is sad none of you will get the chance to taste an Explorateur croissant and fall in love with a barista.
Part of the reason I chose a freshman-focused issue as the theme of our first physical magazine was to give this incoming class some semblance of a guide—a bit of elder knowledge, if you will, on how this city and campus operate. The greatest bit of advice I have, though, is to not be too harsh on yourself. There’s going to be a lot of times where you feel like giving up, like when you sleep through an 8 A.M. presentation or get rejected by your class crush. But if you surround yourself with a strong group of friends, you’ll get through this year just fine. Be bold. Try new things. Join 15 different orgs. Shave your head. Go vegetarian. Dance with whoever your heart desires (social distance style). And most importantly, just get some freakin’ sleep. Just not so much that your grades start slipping. If you end up with a C in your mandatory Speech Comm. class, you’ll know what I mean.
This class is joining this amazing community at such an unusual time, but don’t let that shake your ability to leave a lasting impression on people both inside and outside these halls. As Emerson students, you all have it within you.
Good luck, be safe, and be happy.