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Master of Landscape Architecture

Clare Al Witri

Sitting, siloed away at my home desk, the task of writing something that speaks to our cohort’s collective experience as students has felt daunting. I haven’t had a real conversation with many of you in more than a year, I’ve only seen your faces over zoom, and in many cases could only guess at what your experience of learning during COVID-19 has been. So I thought it best to start by asking you for your own thoughts on your favorite memories, your accomplishments, your aspirations, your reflections as we find ourselves at this critical turning point in our lives.

So many of your responses were beautifully visceral and described shared experiences perhaps we all can relate to. We remember and look back fondly on camping for the first time at Blake Garden, the quick-moving clouds and coastal winds of Marin City, the smell of studio, eating lunch and grabbing coffee at Strada with friends, the challenge of making water-tight wet models, catching up on sleep on studio’s blue sofas. Your memories paint such a textured recollection of the spaces we have shared and collaborated in and add poignancy to the accomplishment we all too share: completing our studies and continuing to learn and grow and flourish as designers remotely. While opportunities for cohort bonding were cut short, I have felt grateful to witness your personalities, interests, strengths, and tenacity in the projects you have taken on as students. These past three years I have been moved at different times by your commitment to beauty, to healing, to craft, to justice, and to rigor in design.

Your reflections also brought to light the knowledge, skills, and values we have gained as students. As we move forward in our careers, we hope to take with us the confidence, the open-minded approach to learning, and the drive for creativity, hard work, and resourcefulness we gained while graduate students. I am grateful for the teachers, mentors, and peers who have taught us these lessons, guided our journey, and offered support when we were in need of it.

Congratulations Class of 2021 on this milestone and on your accomplishments! I hope in the future you can look back at this time as a wellspring of passion and strength.