The hourly emails about non-existent spam, the perennially-understocked Dunkin Donuts on High Street, and patchy 4G. The painful absence of late-night dining options besides McDonalds; where the system probably isn't working anyway. The fact that it means you have to endure long lines just to eat at the dining hall, and that you'll inevitably encounter the professor whose class you skipped at the salad bar. Want to get out of town for a bit? That's cool, civilisation is only 300 miles away by road (I kid, of course).
Remember saying that we'd miss all those things about Chestertown, back in December 2013, some 3 weeks ago? Me neither. Yet scarcely past the first week of the New Year, we find ourselves bored out of our minds and already pining for a return to Washington College.
Across my Twitter feed this week, among remarks on the polar vortex literally freezing the nation to a halt and utter bemusement by Dennis Rodman's unrelenting crusade for "basketball diplomacy" in North Korea, are tweets of despair and boredom from Washington College students. I hope my friends and classmates don't mind me sharing their tweets below, but given that they're publicly accessible I'm sure they'll understand:
Don't get me wrong the couch is great and all, but can I go back to college now...?
— Caitlin Cooney (@cayycoons) January 8, 2014
Took three and a half weeks but I'm finally at my breaking point being home. I'm ready to snap.
— Chris Nardo (@Nardbro_chill) January 7, 2014
Get me back to school. Now.
— Grace Phillips (@GracePhillipss) January 8, 2014
That's just a handful from the bucketload of tweets I've seen, and I too am feeling the same sentiment.
There's no doubting the charm of the holiday season. The regenerating supply of food and drink to tackle, the time spent catching up with family and friends, and the peace of mind that you don't have to do anything school-related are all welcome blessings after f****s week (we do not speak its name). Wherever we live and whatever we celebrate, it's hard to argue with winter break. Unless of course, you're a senior looking for every tangible method under the sun to avoid writing another page of your thesis.
But as the timeless wonder that is Nelly Furtado will kindly remind us, all good things must come to an end. It might be the fact your siblings are driving you nuts, or it might be that you don't have any siblings to annoy and thus can't wait to pester your roommate.
It could be that you now spend your days in a vegetative state on the couch, exhausting even the outermost realms of Netflix. Perhaps the internship you undertook, as brilliant as it was for your resume, reminded you that maybe, just maybe, you actually still enjoy every aspect of being a college student and aren't quite ready for the real world. I'm not.
Time to go back to school? Caroline thinks so.
From freshmen to seniors, it seems as though everyone is itching to get back. Sure, it's not all butterflies and rainbows, but this is perhaps the greatest reminder that we should take nothing for granted as students of Washington College.
We're always caught up in homework, papers, labs, practices, chapter meetings, SGA meetings, campus jobs and so much more. But directly or indirectly, we choose to do most of those things, and it's not until we remove them from our daily routine that we truly understand their importance to our happiness and wellbeing. The charm of Baltimore is less than 80 miles away, and the political powerhouse of the world is just a 75-minute drive if you play the traffic right. You only have to look at remarks from alumni to see just how much graduates still love and miss our campus, and winter break reminds us just how much we as current students do as well.
There will be an influx of new faces. Some old faces will no longer be around. Regardless, it is our responsibility to make the most out of our opportunities, to smile at one another around campus, and to continue to act in ways that make Washington College the warm family that it is. There's a reason why so many friendships and relationships are so strong here, and that's because we know each other as well as brothers and sisters do.
It's not hard to miss a place like this.
As students we have much to look forward to in the coming months. It will be tough at times, but knowing how we often feel when we're away from Chestertown should be enough to keep us going. The spring semester at Washington College promises to be one of prosperity, and hopefully warmer weather. The rewards, and the memories, will of course outlast the challenges.
To those who have departed for pastures new, be it at a different school, a different nation, or for a different venture entirely, we wish you the utmost luck and success. To those who are returning to WAC from abroad, or even coming to Washington College for the first time; welcome home.
I wish the entire Washington College community a prosperous, healthy and happy Spring semester, and look forward to seeing what it has in store. Let's make it the best one yet. Have a safe journey back, everyone!
Very sincerely yours,
George Gabriel '14
Follow George Gabriel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/georgegabriel