For the past 15 years, I have always characterized September as a new beginning. The outset of each school year meant a window to write all my to-do lists and set expectations on what I wanted to accomplish in the few months ahead. Perhaps I was caught up in all the advertising for new notebooks and backpacks, but I started to internalize this idea of new.
A year ago, I was finishing up the usual back to school tasks of trying to remember the location of my classes, driving with the windows down to chase the last few streaks of pink summer sunsets, and choosing a first-day dress. Today, all of this preparation looks very different. Routines we have established are gone and the destabilizing effect of a crisis with no cure has precluded both structure and spontaneity from our everyday lives.
But we now truly have a chance to start anew. We’ve each lost something varying in severity during the past six months to Covid-19 — the life of a loved one, financial stability, or any semblance of normalcy — and it’s okay to be grieving. Grief gives us a chance to reflect on what’s hurting and to feel it more deeply, so that we may connect with someone else coping with the same. To understand what it is to be human and luminous with how you feel in the moment is hard, but it means you’re really alive. When each of us is ready, we’ll start to embrace these lingering feelings of loss and we’ll wade into uncharted territory, into this online semester, together.
And The Medium is here for you, too. Our role as the student press is not only to deliver the daily campus news, but also to capture the perspectives and ideas of our student body. We’re going to hear and uplift your voices, and we’ll continue to be a platform you can trust to hold university stakeholders accountable. Over the summer, my incredible masthead and I have held our meetings on Zoom, deliberated on edits over the phone, and put together our first issue, podcast episode, and video series all in a virtual newsroom. We’re still publishing online every Monday and printing at a reduced biweekly schedule for you to find us on stands. This is all to say, nothing will stop us from bringing you newsworthy stories.
For me, this moment is also a chance to think about what the word essential has come to mean. In Volume 47 of this paper, I hope to explore what we deem essential at our school, what we value, and what we take for granted. This pandemic unveiled an explicit distillation of the racial, economic, and social divisions built into our society and whom we allow to be most vulnerable. We’ve all got work to do in creating a more transparent and equitable learning institution and workplace, and we at the paper promise to do our part by challenging misconduct and listening to you, our reader.