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We rushed past Shadow Lake, avoiding jutting rocks and slippery leaves that had recently fallen, and finally burst out behind Crossley. It was late in the afternoon on a cool November day, and my regular running partners and I were about to finish another day of cross-country practice. We chose one of our common routes that crisscrossed through the trails behind campus. It was late in the season, so we felt strong coming into the final stretch through campus. The sun shone down upon us as we rounded the corner and passed the rows of faculty housing.

As we ran past Cutler, my mind drifted to memories of walking into the ancient brick building
for B-block, on cold winter days, in my junior year. Bundled up in multiple layers, I would drag
my feet in and wipe off the sludge that seemed to permeate campus. I walked up the stairs and
down the long hallway, to where the rest of my class, the “Chem Squad” as we liked to call
ourselves, would be sitting at their desks and by the heater, chatting before the clock hit 10:10.

A few seconds later we were past Cutler running to the top of Bev Bowl along the freshman
village. In between the cottages, I caught glimpses of Alumni Hall, where I had spent my entire
Sunday last week. A few friends and I lounged on the “freshman side,” eating food, drinking
tea, catching up on our weeks, and trying, unsuccessfully, to get some homework done. We
called this routine “Sunday brunch” and it happened almost every week of the fall. We sat
around one of the tables by the windows for hours, and let time melt away. We talked about
random things as the day changed from bright morning to dark night and we all drifted away
for study hall.

Going into my final semester and writing this reflection I was hit by the realization that I won't
be coming back here next year, and will call somewhere else home. It's something that I always
knew was true, but never actually understood until recently. And what I also realized was that
I'm going to have to leave the NMH bubble, something a lot of us of us here experience.

Like when I'm on a run, I’m only concerned with how beautiful the campus and trails around
me are. When I’m in Alumni on Sunday, or in Cutler for Chem, I’m only thinking about NMH
bubble things, like doing homework, friends, or how I didn’t get much sleep last night. In
reality, this bubble doesn’t actually exist, It's something that we feel and think is there. It’s an
ignorant mentality that forms when we allow ourselves to forget about the outside world. It's
something that we imagine. But as we have seen with the recent executive orders, there are
issues so significant that they can’t help but pierce our mental bubble and affect us here. And
with hateful symbols written in Crossley, we are reminded that our bubble can be popped from
the inside. And when the bubble pops, we realize that our lives on campus are not invincible
from what goes on around us.

And I’m really proud of how NMH responds to these pertinent issues. I’ll use these two recent
topics as examples. Even before the graffiti was a well-known thing on campus, Martha
Neubert had sent out an email about a meeting for those who felt affected. And since then
we’ve had multiple discussions amongst students and heard messages from both our faculty
and peers. We’ve done our best to make sure that both Jewish students and students of color
have the chance to express their thoughts and fears, and to let these students know that we,
their community, stand in solidarity with them. And I can personally attest to the support
students have received following the new immigration laws. Both students and faculty
members asked if I or my family felt affected.

When an event occurs that puts students at risk, or threatens them, our community takes
action to make those involved feel safe. We make sure that these incidents are acknowledged,
and never slide them under the rug or forget they exist. We respond by coming together as a
school to discuss, heal, and empathize with each other. Mr. Fayroian summarized it this way
after addressing the international students, and I feel it applies to everyone. “We love you, we
care for you, and we are here for you.”

We are always concerned with doing better as a community, and this is by no means a bad
thing, but I don’t think we appreciate enough the work that we are doing now. We should pat
ourselves on the back for the good that we do, but not stop there. I think we can all agree that
NMH is not a perfect community, but what makes us a great community is that we are always
working to be perfect.

Thank you.


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