I know I’m not the first person to say this, but these past few years just flew by. Looking back on who we were as freshmen uncovers how much has changed, how much we have learned, and the many friendships we have developed. This year brought on many shocks, and many hardships for our students and community. All the lessons in class about resilience, disaster planning, equitable design, and many other themes were playing out in front of our eyes. The pandemic alone had quite an impact, but we must not forget the racial injustices we witnessed that highlighted the existence of systemic discrimination in this country, and even the wildfires that destroyed some of our very own communities, amongst other misfortunes. Speaking for myself, this showed me the impact we can make as policymakers, planners, architects, and designers. Many of us had to overcome our own struggles during this time, and I think this pandemic highlighted the very tools and knowledge we acquired from the classroom that we can now apply to our own reality. What we have learned here has meaning, and our actions can have exponential effects on those around us.
So, while I will reminisce about the late night Strada runs, lounging in the library’s nap pods, and counting down the days till two elevators were up and running again, I will not exclude the efforts we made during our last year from the collection of college memories I will hold on to. I am forever grateful to see the strength of our student body, faculty, and staff who worked tirelessly and together to make this year count and still make lessons from it. I especially commend my peers for their own resilience through these times. And I am proud to have learned beside such a strong, creative, and compassionate group of students.