Growing up, writing was my haven. My friends teased me for carrying a marble notebook wherever I went, pages brimming with mediocre poems my 12-year-old mind thought Shakespearean. Words, I discovered, have the power to forge rivers, oceans, mountains. They immortalize the rise and fall of civilizations, etch our names in rock and dust.
The future I see in front of me for the next couple months is the white wall that stands behind my desk as I write these words. It looks like my friends and classmates and professors confined to Zoom boxes. It looks like more time hundreds of miles away from the place I’d grown to love as my other home. This is all so different from the future I so wish lay ahead instead.
I thought I’d been careful, and indeed I had been — degrees more so than most, if not all, of my friends and family. Then came the email: my SARS-CoV-2 test, which I’d taken as a precaution before seeing my grandparents, and not at all because I was symptomatic, was positive.
Fall semester classes used to kick off on a Wednesday. A wake-up slap after the four-day fever dream known as Frosh Week. Yet it's a Monday — which should usher in some sense of normalcy, since Monday is the start of the typical work week. But come on, it's Princeton. We fly in the face of everything “normal.”
This is a peek into my experience with dealing with medical and mental health issues in Princeton’s highly competitive environment. The biographical story form is used to represent my first-person perspective and is an attempt to convey the pressures, emotional struggles, and stresses the situation brought along with it.
Maintaining relationships, participating in activities with friends and family — even if they are virtual — and consciously making the effort to enjoy little bits of every day have become the cornerstone of my everyday life.
In the first installment of The Prospect's Anti-Racist Reading Reviews, Alex Gjaja reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’s profound work Between the World and Me in the context of 2020, reflecting on the visceral violence of racism and the lessons Coates's text offers to universities and university students.
Maybe the reason watching the filmed version of “Hamilton” brought to mind so many memories of James Luke was because he, too, is now part of history. And I guess I’m just here, listening to the songs that remind me of my brother and writing down old memories of us as if telling them again could change how they ended.
Grief does not end in a day. Sometimes it doesn’t ever go away. I know it will surface again sometime in late August, and October during Halloween, and November in the weeks leading up to and during Thanksgiving. What will I be thankful for then?