During my freshman year, in the spring 2019 semester, I took to the lyrics of “School Spirit” by Kanye West (my top song of 2020, according to Spotify).
Epitomizing the message of his debut album, the College Dropout, Kanye chants Greek letters in satire and explains his disdain for the futility of college life.
Needless to say, the 18-year-old Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity pledge walking to class, arbitrarily memorizing the Greek alphabet to the beat related to this sentiment.
“Back to school and I hate it there, I hate it there.
“Everything I want I gotta wait a year, I wait a year.”
As a freshman, you get knocked down but you get back up in hope of next year’s escape from dorm living, freshman 15 lbs. and the stress that college’s first year brings.
Next year came. I moved into the Cedar Village I’d heard about in celebratory lore and realized a dream of mine when I got the opportunity to cover Michigan State men’s basketball. Then coronavirus hit, and his line hit home for everybody, whether they were familiar with the song or not.
From that point on, that line became my mantra for the year – tournament canceled, study abroad shut down and the most productive and exciting stretch of my life put on hold.
For a while, we waited. We waited for the initial stay-at-home orders to quell the spread, and for limited normalcy to resume. Then we waited for summer, and the relief from contagion and rejoice that it promised to bring. Then we waited for the academic year, one that would mark the reunion of students and athletes, a consolation after months of isolation.
For those months I blared the ballad – over 100 times for the year, according to Spotify, as it fueled my jaded attitude after countless could-have-beens.
But that’s the kind of year it’s been. Now our only consolation is the Satisfactory/Non-satisfactory grade option in a virtual semester. I could go on about my grand blueprints altered by the coronavirus pandemic, about the many things stripped away this year. But that wouldn’t be fair to those who suffered from far greater, and frankly, nobody would want to hear it.
I continue to nod my head to those lyrics though, in hopes of next year.
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