Jay De Man

the best part of returning

Break was magnificent, truly. The opportunity to read, rest and enjoy the holidays in post-exam weariness was well-needed. Though good, and a worthy use of time, I found myself wondering toward the end: Just how long until I can return? 

It turns out that the sound of people going to-and-fro in the halls leaves an imprint on your mind. At any given moment, it’s easy to hear the sound of laughter and conversation from one of the surrounding rooms and lobbies. In these short January days, a warm, yellow glow from the buildings suggests motion and vitality. Sojourns outdoors are brisk and wet, so some bravery is required — but the reward is a landscape showing signs of the season. Overall, the familiar rhythms of Calvin became something so integral to how I viewed myself that to not daily be outdoors, have no classes, and little by way of constant community left a distinct sensation of silence. For reflection, silence is perfect, but I found a hunger for return. 

This is, after all, the place I work and rest. It’s also the place I eat. 

These are my lovely people! 

These are my lovely people! 

I love the expectation of community. To be able to know that one will come in contact with dearly-held friends adds a concrete point of reference to the day, giving energy and hope no matter the challenges faced. At Calvin, I’ve been blessed by floor dinners. 3rd vR has truly made a point of always coming together each evening to eat and enjoy conversation. It’s one of my favorite parts of Calvin, one that I missed during break. 

At this point in the academic calendar, we’ve just completed the first week of Interim. Everyone has come back from all the various parts of the world they’ve been scattered, and after a brief interlude it’s off to a somewhat gentle re-acclimation. Classes return, the January Series (another favorite part of Calvin!) is in full swing, but I gotta tell you. 

I love dinners with my floor. For all the rhythms and steady parts of life here, the one I have most enjoyed in return is dining with the attentive, funny, joyous honors living-learning community.