Study Hal: Week 40 – Calm Campus

Hal had to attend to some business in Ann Arbor, so he made the trip over the weekend! He hasn’t been on campus since last January. When he got there, he was shocked by how quiet it was… Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s because it was a cold Saturday morning in the midst finals season. Whatever the reason, the lack of activity took Hal by surprise.

It seems like a lot of little things have shifted over the past year. It makes sense that campus activity patterns would change like anything else. Still, Hal and I both look forward to the day when north campus, the diag, and the UMMA can be full of people again.

If this is your first time here, welcome! Hal is a graduating senior at U-M, and he’s been studying from home all year. We post updates on Tuesdays, but if you’re itching for more content, check out the backlog on the Study Hal tag!

Looking Forward: 2021

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a relaxing couple of weeks off. I’m taking the time to soak up this last week with my roommates before the semester starts.

I arrived back in Ann Arbor a couple of days ago and I have to say it feels like a different place than when I moved here three and a half years ago. Businesses have closed down, the movie theaters are still dark, restaurants and bars are limited to take-out-only. When I walk down Main Street, I no longer see lines for concerts at The Ark or jazz at the Blue Llama. And while I would love to sit in Hill Auditorium and see a Gerswhin show, I know that all of this is to protect our community. 

The past semester felt dark, at times, especially being so rooted in performing arts, but this blog has been a shining light. It has allowed me to speak with some incredible people and hear hopeful stories of how the arts are surviving on campus. I’ve been in awe over the creative ways that academic departments, student organizations, and campus resources have adapted to the challenges this year has presented. They have not only found a way to continue their missions amid a global pandemic, but many have addressed students’ mental health and wellbeing as well as critical social justice issues. We have shown up for one another, and that is a beautiful thing. 

This blog is all about looking towards the future, and the new year is all about that prospect. Of course, we know that 2021 is not a fresh start that will magically solve all the world’s problems, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot also recognize the hope that this year brings. So let us hope that 2021 brings us more community, more creativity, and more compassion. I am so looking forward to having new conversations with resources and organizations on campus, and to hearing how students are “looking forward” this year. 

Til’ next week, 

Lucy

P.S. If you have any suggestions for organizations/people I should interview – please leave me a comment below!

The Host

Like the Statue of Liberty, the library called,

“Give me your tired, give me your weary” 

A lighthouse, it gleamed in the distance.

It was a sanctuary, 

Their sanctuary,

Home to chairs that were 

Uncomfortable but they had stopped minding

Various Tupperware containers being opened 

Different cuisines fusing into one,

At the same time.

It was a good fusion.

Studying, they tried, eventually, the subjects would 

Merge into one, math and english and science, 

And so many others, the majors were endless,

At this point, though, they were one and all the same.

They tried to force themselves awake,

Taking breaks, they

Watched the football on the television,

But they had watched a hundred games like this one,

And it had yet to become different.

Besides, their mind had entered a dream-like state,

Half-asleep, they ate their dinner.

It was impersonal, cooked by someone they didn’t know,

Not to say it wasn’t good, 

Because it was, 

But they missed home, a little bit.

Eventually, they couldn’t resist the pull of gravity,

They laid their heads on their books

And their eyes begin to flutter

Still, they tried to keep awake, realizing that they had been tricked

The library was courteous, a gentleman,

It tiptoed around them 

Cast sparkling shadows from the sunset

Onto their faces,

And lulled them to sleep.

Rainbow Road

the rain comes on suddenly,

too sudden.

they are unprepared, their hoods from their hoodies

are all they have, their

 umbrellas are forgotten at home, they are

 unfamiliar with michigan weather,

where the saying goes 

“if you don’t like the weather,

wait ten minutes.” 

they realize this soon but

not soon enough.

the water that the drain rejected has seeped

into their converse, their nike air force ones, their checkered vans,

 cleaning the once-white soles but 

leaving them damp,

uncomfortable.

their solution for this is coffee 

like it is for many of their problems,

cold, iced tea, contrasting with the weather,

whisked in their hands, flurrying away. 

the sidewalks get their dose of cleaning, from 

shoes that walk miles upon it every day,

the leaves lose their crunch, and instead

shine brightly on the pavement,

like walking on rainbow road

from mario kart.

a topic of conversation,

rain is.

all day long, 

coats are thrown off, umbrellas shaken at doorsteps, 

they say “it’s pouring out there!” 

and they have this same conversation every time it rains,

their shoes always get wet, 

they always get coffee,

they always walk on rainbow road,

they go through this every time it rains,

and yet their love for it 

never wavers. 

The Books of Hatcher Library

Walk the stacks of Hatcher,

all the history it contains

Up and down the hallways, 

marvel at what remains

 

Centuries worth of books,

all sitting there in dust

Many of them never picked,

thankfully cannot rust

 

Their wordsmiths have come and gone,

the books as ever young

Their words sit upon these musty shelves,

their contents remain unsung

 

We talk and talk and hope one is listening,

to know that we exist

Like us, these books want to be heard,

it is our eyes that they have missed

 

Close your eyes and pick a book,

leave your texts unsent

The books are celebrating your arrival,

they appreciate the time spent

 

Read the book in an open field,

where flowers are so merry

Where the sun shines upon its spine,

where it isn’t a dark library

 

Walk the stacks of Hatcher

 when you have some time to spare

The books yearn to be opened, 

they wish to feel the sweet summer air