The best way to describe how I was feeling as I packed up my dorm room is numb. I didn’t know how to feel. I was almost in denial.
All I could think is, “This shouldn’t be happening right now. It’s only March. I shouldn’t be packing my room already.”
I looked up at the empty walls in the iconic North House 109. I sat on my bare mattress and took a moment to reflect. It was tough to hold the tears in. As I walked out for the final time, my watery eyes won the battle when I saw the two nametags stuck to the doorway.
Brendan Crowley. Community Advisor. Jay Mullen. Building Manager.
It felt like the end of an era. These past two semesters were something special. The best year of college by far. I found myself, I found my family, and I found my dreams.
North House 109 began as a single, only occupied by myself. As a CA, I had the luxury of a king-sized bed, two pieces of furniture that ultimately became mega-desk, and of course, peace and quiet.
But I wasn’t satisfied. In fact, I was pretty bored. It was just by chance that I asked fellow newspaper editor Jay Mullen to be my roommate. It happened in a matter of two days, and those two days ultimately changed my life.
Jay and I quickly became close friends. Brothers. We shared the same ideas and goals. We got along instantly. We knew we could make an impact.
We had plans for a business together. We even created a grassroots positivity movement just by saying three words, “I hear ya.” (If you know, you know. And if you don’t know, watch the linked video).
But at least for me, most importantly, we started a band. My entire life I had this dream – a dream that I initially thought was unreachable – to create and perform music.
It all happened so fast. It started as just Jay and I, then came two others (shout out to Mike and Greg). With one jam sesh, we knew we had something special.
But after only a few weeks of jamming, it was stripped away.
My magical semester had come to an end earlier than I wanted it to. Everything that was coming together was torn apart. I had to say goodbye to all of the amazing people I met. I had just started dating my amazing girlfriend, and now we’re five hours apart. I miss her. I miss Jay. I miss everyone so much.
It all happened so fast and way too soon.
The saddest part is that as I sat in North House 109 one last time to reflect, I at least had the hope of returning to campus in a month as originally announced. But when the email was sent saying that Castleton would be closed for the rest of the semester, my heart sunk.
I don’t know when I’ll see my college family again, especially all together in a group, and especially since many of them are seniors.
But in this time of confusion and craziness, I hope to keep that grassroots positivity movement alive. We all need positivity right now.
As I sit at home adjusting to online classes, I think about all the good times. The endless memories and laughs and friendships that will never be forgotten.
I think about everything that I have now. I get to spend plenty of time with my family, who I miss dearly while I’m away at college. I’m making time to do what I love, going outside and playing my guitar, refining my skills for when the band reunites.
I think about my girlfriend every day, and I am so blessed to be able to text her talk to her over the phone. She’s been an incredible support for me.
I stay in touch with my brother and best friend Jay, whose impact on my life will always be something I cherish. Without him I would not be the Brendo everyone knows at Castleton. I’d still just be Brendan.
I am incredibly grateful. The pandemic may be a giant curveball, perhaps the biggest in my life, but there are still so many wonderful aspects of my life that I have gained from the adventures of the 2019-20 schoolyear.
I want to encourage everyone to try and stay positive through this debacle. It is times like these where coming together as a nation and taking care of each other is critically important.
And as for staying at home, I know how tough it can be. I am not someone who likes to stay cooped up all day. I suggest finding a passion, something you’ve been wanting to do for a while but haven’t had the time to do it, and spend at least an hour working on it each day.
It gives you something to look forward to. It keeps your mind off the craziness.
We as humans have the ability to find a brighter side to everything. It can be super difficult, but there’s always something.
And when everything slows down and eventually comes to an end, go find all those people you’ve been missing and give them a big hug. We got this.