Since COVID-19 began and we’ve been all working from home, every day kinda feels like Blursday to me (all days run together in a blur). Because of Blursday, it’s hard to feel the ebb and flow of different days of the week when your scenery never changes. But I *think* that today was supposed to be one of our Campus Days for Accepted Students, and that is normally one of the best days of the year. Tons of excited students and families walking around, the campus is stunning in its springtime beauty. It’s a feel good day for sure.
For those P’24s already in the Daily Deacdom – and for everyone else who misses campus – I thought it might be fun to dust off a blog post I did two years ago on Campus Day. This is one of my “Five Senses” posts, where I tell you what I saw, heard, smelled, etc.
While I was working on my dissertation, I had a whiteboard in my office where I posted milestones I had to reach. Some of them were years out, but incrementally I crossed them all off. Class of ’27 Deac had written at the top of my list “Eyes on the Prize” – which is something I often say when there are tough tasks in the short term, but you gotta play the long game.
This Five Senses is a reminder to keep your Eyes on the Prize. We WILL get back to normal at some point, and back on campus, which is everyone’s goal. (Before you ask, no, I don’t yet have a date on when that will be. If I had it, I would tell you).
Finally, I meant to say this in yesterday’s Daily Deac and forgot: Ramadan Mubarak to all our families who are observing. And now, our Five Senses of Campus Day 2018:
– Most of the bistro tables near my perch are occupied. About 50% appear to be current students, 50% Campus Day students and parents/families.
– Brisk business taking place at the Deacon Shop. They have cashiers set up outdoors and there is a continual line of customers. There are a certain amount of Campus Day families already in Wake attire, so I am making the assumption their kids have committed.
– Two students on the grass sitting there looking very relaxed. One is reclining back on her elbows. They are in full sun, but occasionally when the wind picks up, one of them puts a jacket back on. Later, I see her remove the jacket when there is no wind (and presumably the sun is hot).
– Bright yellow flowers in the flower beds bordering Reynolda Hall. They look great.
– A cloudless sky. Nothing but blue.
– Campus Day students – you can tell them by their nametags.
– Lots of smiling families.
– Students with backpacks on, presumably walking to class.
– A staff member walks by with a bag of lunch from Subway.
– A university golf cart parked near me. Behind that, I can see a couple of bikes in a bike rack, with a long skateboard.
– Two small dogs chasing each other on the Quad close to the Bookstore.
– A young woman in a gorgeous headscarf. It is not quite red, and not quite magenta, but somewhere in between. It is an amazing color and I wish I had it.
– Visiting parents/family members who seem really tired. Not sure if it was the early start for Campus Day, the chilly day, the momentousness of the occasion, or packing a lot of activity and travel in at once – but there are some tired faces. A lot of them make their way to open benches for a few minutes of rest.
– A poodle meeting a labradoodle about mid Quad. Both dogs are sort of rowdy and rear up on their hind legs.
– A colleague of mine stopping to talk to a Campus Day family.
– Campus Day families taking pictures of their students – or sometimes the whole family – with Wait Chapel in the background.
– A student writing in her day planner. She has a cute pen/pencil case.
– Campus Day parents saying to each other as they part “So nice to meet you!” “So much fun!”
– A bird whistling. It has a regular, rhythmic whistle.
– A group of female students nearby are chatting. I catch snippets here and there during the 15 or 20 minutes I am sitting there. Things like: “That’ll be the last time I see you for a long time!” “Is your formal next weekend?” “One of the girls from my high school is coming [to Wake next year]” “Do you feel sad about no longer bring a freshman? It’s sad!” [another girl in response] “Yeah, 1st semester you are just so awkward. 2nd semester is waaaaaay better.“
– A yellow jacket buzzing around my table.
– Chirping birds – sounds like several in a group.
– The crunchy sound of a plastic shopping bag being dropped on the ground near a bench. A student looks like they just went to the Deacon Shop and bought everything. Three big bags crunch their way to the ground.
– Some current students talking to a prospective student who had not made up his mind between Wake and some other school(s). The students ask “Where are you [deciding] between?” I don’t hear his answer, but the students talk to him for a few minutes and offer to answer any questions he might have.
– The metallic sound of a student unscrewing the cap of an insulated water bottle to take a drink. Then the metallic sound of it getting screwed back in.
– A female voice coming down the stairs saying “this ice cream is SOOOOOOO GOOOOOD.”
– Music being played from someone’s Quad-facing room. It’s loud and piping out to the Quad. I can’t make out the song though.
– As I get ready to pack up and go, the Carillon starts to play. First it is the opening of our fight song, then it starts to play Lean on Me.
– Pollen. There is a lot of it in the air right now and it is really hitting some folks with allergies hard, including one of my colleagues. I had met a mom at Campus Day who told me she was having a terrible time with her nose because of it and had to run back to the car to get her Zyrtec.
– Very fresh air. The coldness of the air makes it smell crisp.
– A cold seat of the bistro chair when I sit down. Similarly, when I rest my arms on the table to write my observations, the bistro table is quite cool to the touch. It’s in the shade and hasn’t had the benefit of the sun warming it.
– A coldish breeze occasionally waft over me.
– Warmer as my time on the Quad progresses. The sun starts to creep over my table and the warmth feels good.
– Not a cotton-picking thing. I had just had a big lunch. Was jonesing terribly for my drink of choice (Diet Pepsi) so I got one as soon as I got to the office to type this up. And it is every bit as amazing tasting as I hoped it would be. So I guess that kindasorta counts.
I want to close this 5 Senses with a moment I saw as I was getting ready to leave my perch. There was a prospective family standing on the stairs of Reynolda looking at the Quad, all full of students, green grass, dogs, and beautiful warm sun. A motherly voice said “If this isn’t the dream, I don’t know what is.”
I couldn’t agree more.
— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)
Categories: the daily deac