When I look back at my time at Bowdoin, I feel a mix of emotions. A nostalgic sadness is deepened every time that I think about all the missed fun with friends in the closing weeks of the semester. Something that Bowdoin gave many of us was a community. From hanging around the quad to staying up late doing homework, they were all moments that, when we reflect on them, we miss dearly. While we are all scattered in our respective communities, I still feel a loss and sadness that cannot be replaced by a virtual Zoom call. Interacting with people on a daily basis is something that I miss heavily, and I know I am not alone in this regard.
While I may still be sad about what’s lost, I still find great optimism in a few things. Over the past couple of years, strangers became friends, friends became family and that family became a part of my heart. I know that I found people whom I trust and who support me in so many ways and for whom I am more than grateful. I also learned a lot. While I can’t write down everything, here are four things that I felt were highlights for me.
· I learned what it means to persevere during tough times and when to find a shoulder to lean on.
· I learned that I should not always be too hard on myself.
· I learned to erase a lot of the doubt in my mind about my own capabilities.
· I learned to slow down and go at a steady pace.
Bowdoin is different for many students, and it definitely is not an easy journey for anyone. What may have been second nature to some is a stark and new reality for others. Learning how to navigate this campus was difficult, but having upperclassmen who cared deeply about my success made it a lot easier. They paved a clear path, imparted their knowledge and tricks and ultimately made life easier for those that would soon replace them. We are what makes Bowdoin College so special, each and every single one of us, whether it is on campus or at home.
To those that miss Bowdoin, it will come back. To those that miss their friends, check in with them when you can and find creative ways to stay connected. To those that feel confused and worried, that is completely okay, too. To those that are taking it day by day, I am fully with you because we are living in difficult times. Living with uncertainty is our daily reality, and we all handle that differently.
I am hopeful that, while life is difficult now, we will adjust, and it will become better. I know that we will continue to care and support each other even if it may be at a distance for a little while longer. Most importantly, as I look ahead, the connections we have at Bowdoin most definitely transcend any difficult patch that we go through.
Mamadou Diaw is a member of the Class of 2020.