I apologize for my rudeness, but if you’ve been on this campus in the last two years, I might’ve eavesdropped on your conversation. It’s a bit of a bad habit, but I really can’t help myself. 

I’m interested in what you have to say. 

It’s why I started writing for the Campus Times, why I am majoring in Linguistics and Classical Civilizations, and why I became an RA. 

People have interesting lives and stories, and though we can only experience our own, one of my favorite things about this campus is how often we get to watch each others’ stories play out. There are only so many tunnels, dining halls, and study spaces, so eventually you start to recognize the same people in the same places at the same times. If you really watch, you might be able to tell who they talk to, what homework they do, when they are too tired to put on more than sweatpants and a hoodie, and when they are too busy to even appear. 

I don’t think I’m alone in this habit of recognizing strangers on campus. Humans are hardwired to recognize each other. I think this might be part of why some are angry about the new mask mandate (though I am not). We can’t recognize each other as easily. All the hello’s in the hallways and the familiar strangers around campus become blank, unapproachable masks. 

But even with indoor masking requirements, campus is returning to life. The dining halls are full. Starbucks has a line out the door every morning. Students are playing frisbee on the quad and stopping to greet old friends and new as they move in. 

Campus is alive again. I’m excited about it. 

I’m excited to hear your stories, and to write new ones together. 

I’m excited to recognize you from afar, and greet you in passing. I’m excited to meet you for the first time, and to see you again after two years. I’m excited to sit in a class with you, and to ask, “Hey, I think you were in a Zoom class with me?” And yes, I’m excited to eavesdrop on you.

Welcome back to campus. It’s a bit small sometimes, though hopefully the crowds will make up for the loneliness of the past year and a half. It’s been too long since we’ve all been together. I think it’ll be a good time.

Gotta go!

Just go down the hall, take a right, take a left, and then head 40 paces due north. There, you'll meet a large lobster.

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