You know that sound on TikTok that you’re supposed to use to ‘romanticize your life,’ throwing in pictures and videos of you living the dream in aesthetically pleasing scenarios? While I’m not sure how I feel about overly romanticizing everything, sometimes while on campus, I can’t help but stop and take a picture of the pink and purple sunset through the trees in North Quad, or of the snow glistening in Tappan Square, and think about how nice the moment is, and how grateful I am to go to a college with such a pretty campus. Even while trekking through single-digit weather to get to my Winter Term class, I’m very glad that I'm on campus for my project.
Like the white snow blanketing the ground, campus has a sort of peace during Winter Term, with only about half of the student body there, the bustle of semester classes gone, and students now harboring a focus on their projects. While WT projects may be rigorous and fast-paced, many students still find themselves with extra free time during the weeks, either using it for the unique WT events on campus or for some much needed relaxation. Even in the moments of hard work and concentration on your project, some tranquility can be found in the slumbering nature of the winter weather; for me this was when I spent a morning keeping warm from the snowfall in a practice room on the upper floors of Robertson Hall of the Conservatory.
After my first week in the group project of learning to play the viola da gamba, I can safely say that I’m very happy with my WT decision, as I’m having a blast learning to play the baroque instrument, albeit trying to overcome the learning curve! My background with the violin helps, but it’s still a unique instrument, and daily practice is necessary to improve with it. I’ve been starting off my mornings heading over to the Conservatory and grabbing a practice room to try and tackle the exercises and songs assigned to us for next class. As an Arts and Sciences student, I love getting to walk through the Con and hear students' music resonating throughout the rooms, and for this reason I especially love being in the halls of the practice rooms.
On the aforementioned snowy morning, I was grateful to be holed up in one of these rooms to stay warm from the weather outside. After spending some time focusing intently on my fingerings and bow hold, I took a breather and looked to my left out of the iconic diamond windows of the Con. The snow was swirling down with the wind, piling in a soft pillow on the ground below. From my view high up, I had a clear sight of it lightly floating down, each thick snowflake making their way from the clouds. That morning in the practice room with the snow falling down, the music off in the rooms around me, and the beautiful instrument in my hands, I was suddenly overcome with the sense that I was in a special moment, just like when I notice a colorful sunset while walking back from class, or even just see a squirrel jumping playfully through the snow. Winter’s my favorite season, and during my time on campus for Winter Term, I’m often reminded why, especially when I’m in a cozy place and get to enjoy the snow from a warm view.
In my down time I’ve been making myself some hot tea and reading The Lord of the Rings (I just finished the first book, and I’m loving it so far!). I came across a quote that struck me; it’s when Frodo and company reach the beautiful Elven land of Lothlórien on their treacherous journey. One of the elves of this land, Haldir, tells them:
“‘The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it perhaps grows the greater.’”
Campus may be extra empty this Winter Term as many students are trying to stay safe from rising COVID cases, and in the biting winter weather, sometimes the negative cannot help but linger at the forefront of our minds. In tiny moments of bliss, though, like that snowy morning in the Conservatory, I take a moment to appreciate the small things, and am overcome with gratitude.
Below are some pictures that you could say are me romanticizing my life on campus for Winter Term ;)