Where We Belong

To those who timidly step forward into the last vestige of a fleeting adolescence, to those who are saddled with the woes of a broken psyche, and to those who intrepidly adopt the new life of an autodidact, I say: welcome home.

As the fervor of a new school year permeates IMSA’s busied campus, our small collection of 600 students is reunited once again. Though this time, I returned to campus feeling inundated by a new wash of foreign faces. And as I looked around searching for a sliver of familiarity, I realized that my beloved seniors are no longer here.

They are on the cusp of their next great adventure, with the doors to IMSA sealed tightly behind them. Now, they bear the intimidating title of IMSA alumni, a label that emphasizes the distance between them and their former community. What left with the class of 2014 was not only a group of 200 some students, but also a sense of comfort shared across the campus.

But their absence serves as a reminder for those who remain. They leave behind legacies – ones that will continue to permeate the walls of these dorms. As they begin to pioneer new paths for themselves, we too will find new niches in our beloved home. We will explore the intricacies in every crevice of our world and delve deeper into each intellectual challenge. We will craft new experiences that will be safely tucked away in the pockets of our memory. And perhaps in a couple years, when all of us face the reality of alum-hood, we can step back into those stores of years’ past and recall a time of youth and liberation.

Thus, to my fellow Class of 2015, I congratulate you. Not only for surpassing the penultimate step to our last year of high school, but also for relishing each moment as the sands in our hourglass slip away. Humbled by the superiority of classes before us, we grew out of our sophomoric innocence. Sobered by the vicissitudes of junior year, we learned more truths about our school and ourselves. And that, of course, only leaves another transient year ahead of us, and it will pass too quickly. But through all of the inevitable downfalls and triumphs, we will carve our own legacies for IMSA’s posterity.

So for the Class of 2016, I encourage you. You are entering a year that often elicits cynicism and fear. Negativity may tempt you to surrender, but be careful not to succumb to its false appeal. You will grow as juniors and understand your place at IMSA to a greater extent than you may have expected. Junior year is a time for hard work and excellence, but it is also a time to foster a network of friends that will always be there to catch you, even when you leave.

Finally, to the Class of 2017, I welcome you. Some of you might not feel daring enough to embrace the journey into this unknown territory. But I assure all of you, bleary-eyed adolescents, that the path towards erudition is not as daunting as it looks. I hope you grow to love the campus you are on, and if not, I hope you have the courage to change it. Either way, you have entered a new world, one filled with windowless buildings and sarcasm connoisseurs. So welcome to a new sea of faces, to old traditions and to the starkness of campus green.

Soon, you will fall into your own established traditions. The quiet hum of students in the old café will reverberate as you nestle yourselves under the Sodexo u-bench. And as you begin to weave together the axiomatic truths of your purpose and place at IMSA, the halls will echo with unity once again. Although you might be amateurs in the ways of sleepless nights and last minute clutches, you will soon find your safe haven.

The course of the year will bring dark eye-circles and stress. But amidst the wave of cynicism, our student body will always share the sole commonality of presence. For now, IMSA is our home, and for now, it’s where we all belong.

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