Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Fall: a season of change

Daily Collegian File Photo)
(Daily Collegian File Photo)

While roasting in the heat and humidity of the first week of school, it is easy forget what season is upon you. Despite being back at school, buying new notebooks and already seeing Halloween decorations at the mall – all sure signs of an impending autumn – when it is 90 degrees outside and you’re sweating in your room with a fan on full blast, it still feels like summer.

But summer holdouts such as the one we were all greeted with upon move-in this year can only last so long, and with our first taste of true September chilliness in the mornings and evenings of the past few days, it seems that Amherst has finally started to cool down.

As class schedules solidify and stores put away their back-to-school displays, it seems the unavoidable autumn is here to stay.

And when seasons change, everything changes. This is New England after all – a home where we are so regularly afforded our four distinct seasons, we can hardly be blamed for letting their transitions affect us. Our seasons and the weather they bring are the way we literally feel the passage of time, and thus the changing of the seasons is when we feel time most sharply. Cold days assault our bare summer shoulders, somehow managing to surprise us every year. “Time for school!” we are reminded. “Time for work! Time for change!”

And that’s what fall is for us students – a time for change.

Such change is a natural source of anxiety. The carefree abundance of summer turns brown and dies and we march to class crunching it under our feet. With the new school year we are reminded of our goals, and how hard they are to achieve. We meet new people and try new things and are thus reminded of our aspirations and, often, our insufficiencies. With fall – with change – comes personal evaluation: What am I doing? Why am I here again? Why am I getting out of bed when it’s still dark outside?

Of course you are the only one able to answer these probing questions, but it is comforting to remember that at the beginning of a school year and at the advent of a season – particularly this season – you are not alone in experiencing these apprehensions, doubts and, conversely, excitements. It is a fundamental part of facing change.

It is one of the many reasons I love being a New Englander as well as being in college; weather and school are shared experiences. Despite the many differences that exist among our large and diverse student body, we all must reckon with the same temperatures and storms, along with the same academic calendars and exam weeks, as each other. An incredible level of comfort and gratitude can be reaped from being reminded of such unity in our extensive community.

I offer one bit of advice when it comes to dealing with the change and anxiety that is inherent in this season: Embrace it head on, and do so with your community. Understand its inevitability and face it unafraid. After all, it is only a little cold air.

One other thing. We all know what November is going to bring for our country, or rather what November is going to ask of our country, since we do not yet know what, or who, will be pulled out of the ground when we have finished partaking in our quadrennial fall harvest. As it approaches, I ask you to remember that change and all its anxieties and growing pains are natural at this time of year. Despite how it may feel when the wind starts blowing, the apocalypse is not upon us every time it starts getting darker out. Embrace the change, stand in the wind and understand that your neighbors, like you, are just doing their best to weather the cold.

Becky Wandel is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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