With classes and finals officially over it’s starting to feel like the early days of summer in earnest. There’s a bittersweet quality to the end of every academic year, though this year the sense of mixed emotions seems more pronounced than usual. Spring is finally upon us for real, and there’s nothing like spring in New England. We’re already starting to notice a fine yellow dusting of pollen covering everything, though (ahhhh-choo!), and the ticks are out in force. As commencement approaches, we’re of course excited for our graduating students and proud of how they’ve continued to excel in challenging circumstances, but it’s hard not to feel a bit wistful as we plan for our second straight virtual commencement ceremonies.
Above all, though, as we enter a period in which the arc of the pandemic in much of the US is trending in the right direction – vaccinations up (at least in these parts), COVID cases down, mask mandates easing – we have in mind all of our current and incoming students living and worried for loved ones in the many places where that’s not the case. Members of our community based in India, South America, and many other hard-hit regions are facing a great deal of uncertainty, stress, and heartbreak, and our thoughts are with them even as we mark occasions for celebration here.
There remains a lot of preparation for the return to an in-person semester in the fall, and there’s naturally a lot of excitement for the resumption of something resembling “normal.” In our community, though, what’s going on here is only part of the story, and our hopes for better times ahead extend well beyond Medford.