After a spring semester that was cut off so abruptly, it felt bittersweet walking through Pem Arch and into main campus again. The campus carried the usual air of excitement that comes with the beginning of a new school year. The leaves of the trees along Senior Row are just starting to color, and the hot temperatures of the summer are cooling down. But unprecedented circumstances from the pandemic have also brought new changes to campus. Instead of running up and hugging friends we haven’t seen in months, students are staying six-feet apart and giving air-hugs to one another. Everyone is masked and signs are lined against paths reminding students to socially distance. Even after a month on campus, I’m still adjusting to all the changes in this “different normal.”
While I’m eager for things to get back to how they were before the coronavirus, I’m still holding on to small unexpected joys from this season. We can no longer eat in the dining halls, but now every meal can be turned into a picnic. Sprinkled throughout all the lawns and green spaces are benches and patio chairs, and they’ve added more hammocks on the line of cherry blossom trees outside Canaday Library. It was encouraging receiving the usual email from the traditions mistresses during the second week of school just like every year, reminding everyone about (socially distanced) Parade Night. Even in a pandemic, traditions at Bryn Mawr must go on! Seeing everyone outside and enjoying each others’ company, reminds me that no matter what, the sense of community at Bryn Mawr will always stay the same.