As we approach these final days of our semester, I’ve been trying to think about what distinguishes MCS 41 from the other 40 semesters that have passed their four months in what I’ve come to consider my own home here. Surely the memory of my presence here—walking through the Wallace, dancing in the rain on the quad, sitting and laughing with the check-in person on my bed in Gillies—will eventually fade with all the hundreds of incoming students that will grace this place with their eager presences. Thinking about finally leaving behind a place that I can’t picture not being in, I started to think about what I personally was going to remember about my semester. I realized that the same rules apply for my own memories—I probably won’t remember each person’s voice, maybe even their likes and dislikes. I might forget the walks to class that I had with some people, even the jokes we shared while harvesting farm vegetables on work program (although leaving gifts of mutated carrots in my classmate’s mailboxes with Jack will probably prove impossible to forget). I start to get overwhelmed thinking about each memory that I’ve had here with all of these incredible students and teachers; I think about all that I’ve learned from everyone here, all that I’ve been surprised at and laughed at and cried at and I realize that it would take losing a part of myself for me to forget most of what has happened here.
I remember that I’ve experienced moments here that have proved to be defining in my life—holding hands with 39 other kids my own age, with a handful of teachers that I’d grown so close to, and preparing to leave for solos, knowing right at that moment that the trust and love that flowed from each person into the next would be waiting for me when I returned. Going down to the waterfront with most of the semester, sitting on the docks and dreaming out loud about the moon and the fascinating light that dropped down and illuminated my friends surrounding me from the inside out. Realizing as we all sat around the woodstove and stumbled through our feelings and troubles that I loved my cabin girls for the very differences that at first might have seemed to divide us. Sharing, by candlelight, our innermost feelings and quietest, strongest emotions with each other as the snow fell quietly outside. Reveling in the fact that being accepted, finding a home among friends, and learning to live our passions was cradled and considered precious and beautiful here in this idyllic autumn home for myself and my 39 friends.
Those moments were defining for me. I realized a renewed faith in people my own age and a start to the rest of my life as something to actually look forward to. I now realize that even though the people surrounding me now—saying their goodbyes amidst tears and final words and last glances—will change, we’ve all gone through this together. Whatever our lives turn into in the future, it will be partially because of what happened here when we were 40 and closer than I’ve ever been with most people. And remembering that will remind me of just what changed me so subtly, so hugely in this place.
-Sophie Silkes, New York, NY