I am writing this letter a week before finals and just a few days before our class has to submit a draft of our Capstone projects. People are stressed and tired, and the gloomy London weather is calling for hot chocolate and naps instead of work. We hosted a Yule Ball on Saturday, which was the first-ever student-organized formal ball at Minerva. We got to dress up, eat delicious food, and dance our Capstone-stress away for a few hours. As Graduation gets closer, my appreciation for events that bring us all together has grown tremendously. It is hard to think that in less than a year, people will be starting new lives in different parts of the world.
In August, we got our first taste of London during Exploration Day, where we split up into teams and completed activities around the city. We took selfies by double-decker buses, ate salted beef bagels, and posed next to iconic telephone booths. We ended the day with a potluck picnic looking out on Buckingham Palace. Since it was our first week in London, we talked about hopes for the upcoming year and made lists of what we wanted to see, eat, and experience while in London.
Now at the end of the semester, I’m happy to report that within walking distance from our residence hall, there are food markets that sell delicious, diverse lunches and fresh produce. The city is very walkable and, when it gets too cold to walk, the buses and the tube are easy to navigate. A main highlight of London is all of the free museums. For one co-curricular, we did an “Uncomfortable Tour” of the British Museum. We walked around the museum discussing the morality, legality, and colonial histories of the pieces on show. In the British Museum, thousands of historical monuments that belong elsewhere, from the Greek Parthenon sculptures to the Egyptian mummies, sit to be admired by observers daily. Experiences centered around critical thinking remind me why I love being at Minerva.
In a time when people are overwhelmed with post-graduation planning, it’s comforting to have opportunities where we can all relax, have fun, and reflect on the last few years. At our last Friendsgiving, everyone wrote down their favorite memories at Minerva on wooden sticks and passed them around for others to read. People shared fun moments, such as late-night cooking in the communal kitchen in San Francisco and watching the lunar eclipse from our rooms in Hyderabad. We opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to say words of gratitude. A handful of words kept coming up in people’s speeches — community, distance, and home. We thought about what we will take away from our experiences at Minerva once we graduate and, for me, it is the importance of being surrounded by a community that values hard work, openness to new experiences, and long-lasting friendships.
If you are interested in joining a community that will support you to follow your passions, consider applying for Minerva’s Class of 2024.