Why I Run to BUA Every Morning

by Alyssa Ahn

Commentary

February 22, 2021

There was this day, I remember. Actually, there are a lot of those days. Days when my body tenses as soon as I wake up, and I just know it isn’t going to be a good day. These are the days when I sleep through my alarm. My eyelids pop open, and I desperately dive out of bed. I rush to the bathroom, glance at my contact lens case, check my watch, adjust my mask, sigh, and rush out. And my glasses press heavier onto my skin. Those are days when things don’t go my way. 

I dash through the kitchen with a heavy backpack crushing my shoulders. I smell those delicious crispy Costco croissants before shutting the door. I run to school on those days. I run like a prowling, snarling monster is chasing me — I run like the person who dies in horror movies. I run because I’m running for my life. I know that oversleeping leads to getting to school late, which leads to failing tests, which leads to bad grades. But that’s not why I run. 

Some people walk. When they’re late, they stroll in, acting casual, saving face. I can’t save face on those days — on those days, it feels like pieces of the world are cracking off, falling bit by bit; it feels like my face is fragmented, eroding into dust, and I’m alone. I do walk into class. I act calm, keep my head down, and don’t bring others down with me — I walk into class quietly. As long as I’m still running to school, still trying, things are okay. 

On some of the days when things don’t go my way, I try to get up, and I try to run to school. But sometimes, as I get closer to the parking lot, I pause for a moment and ask, “Why am I doing this? Why am I trying — what’s the point?” And then I remember.

I remember the people who I see on those days. People who always smile when they see me and tentatively nod in my direction — I see you, and I smile back with real warmth. I remember the BUA who saw me as a girl in eighth grade. They smiled and shook my hand and said, “I’m pleased to finally meet you.” They accepted me, and I grinned when I got the box and hugged The Odyssey

When everyone has almost gone to their second class of the day, I bounce up, smile and thank my teacher, wipe my desk, collect my things, and step toward the door. My friend waits for me. She smiles and greets me. When I walk into the next classroom, the whole room is always too bright. There are people slumped in chairs and people slumped on the floor. But when class starts and a familiar, grinning face projected on the board waves at us, we all smile. We have fun, and I laugh. 

I remember the person who always walks with me to get tested and waits for me in between classes and smiles when they see me. I’m grateful for the people who see me. One gesture of kindness is all it takes to start making those days better. When I’m having a bad day, or when I’m thinking about those days when I do things wrong, when things go wrong, I remember the kindnesses — and those true kindnesses and courtesies are why I run to school. So I try to give back every day with a little extra kindness to myself and to others. Because being kind is who I am; because I have to remember who I am to experience truly happy days.

March 6, 2020

by Julia Dickinson

Commentary

February 22, 2021

When most people in the United States think about the beginning of the pandemic, they think about March 13, 2020. That Friday the 13th was indeed unlucky: COVID-19 was rapidly spreading, and few understood what was happening. However, when I think about the start of the pandemic, I think about March 6, a week before the U.S. shut down. March 6 was our last pre-COVID day in the BUA building.

I remember March 6 like it was yesterday. We had taken the National Latin Exam the day before, so we chatted about the topics on it. In sophomore English, we watched a movie adaptation of Frankenstein. During lunch, we talked about the recently canceled international spring break trip to Venice and Vienna, both COVID hotspots at the time. We asked each other what fall BU courses we’d registered for, hoping to find a friendly face in class. I had just begun to block in colors for my self-portrait in art class. I went to the Conversations @ BUA discussion on the issues surrounding an on-demand economy. I hugged my friends goodbye before spring break. I took the T to concert band as I did every Friday afternoon.

The one-year anniversary of March 6, 2020 is in less than a month. As the date nears, I feel more anxious. This time of year will always remind me of the vast unknown we all dove into in 2020. It will remind me of those last unmasked conversations, those last hugs. COVID-19 was a 9.0 on the Richter Scale. It had a devastating impact that emanated through the world, causing months, even years of damage. We are still in the heat of it, with millions infected and hundreds of thousands gone, but the vaccine is our first glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. Over sixty million people have been vaccinated in the U.S. already. Each day, as more get vaccinated, the light grows. I’ve learned that you need to keep hope close to your heart. Spending too much time reflecting on the past can lead to a downward spiral; keeping the hopeful future in your line of sight uplifts you.

The Little Details: What Makes Me Happy

by Olga Meserman

Commentary

February 22, 2021

Although this month and year might have been overshadowed by negative news, it’s a relief that not all is bad. There are some things, the little details, that have made me happy these past few weeks.

We all know the Bernie Sanders meme that went viral on inauguration day, but something that most people might not know is that merchandise from this meme has raised over 1.8 million dollars for charity.1 Even BUA took part in the trend, posting on their Instagram a series of photos with the picture, photoshopping Bernie on his now iconic chair into a few locations on campus.

Earlier this week, I went to a small bookshop in my town. It has a really big used book section, where I found some great books to read, including some special edition books. I’m especially excited to get around to reading One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, a mystery surrounding the murder of a high school student. 

The sunsets throughout winter have been absolutely amazing. On a late afternoon, take some time to look through your window and watch the sunset. It’s definitely worth it. The colors are beautiful — a few weeks ago, I saw sunsets the colors of pink and blue cotton candy. 

It’s gorgeous outside when it snows. I love watching the snow fall from the window in my room. I really like winter, even though we don’t have snow days this year. The snow that appeared on February 9 made me happy: I went outside and made a snowman, something that I haven’t done in a while. I was excited to see my neighbors also building a snowman, a very impressive one, standing seven feet tall.

I’d encourage you to find things that make you happy this week. They don’t have to be big: take time for yourself; go to a bookstore; watch the sunset; build a snowman — it doesn’t have to be seven feet tall.


1 Judy Cole, “Bernie Sanders Memes And Mittens Have Now Raised Over $1.8 Million for Charity,” Good News Network, January 28, 2021,
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/bernie-sanders-mittens-and-memes-help-raise-1-8m-for-charity/.