SFF SENIORS, You did it! What a year…
In my conversations and classes with SFF students this year, I learned so much about resilience, patience, and persistence. Because the transition to remote learning (for our on-campus students) was so abrupt last year, there was not much time to prepare for what was about to unfold. Teachers and students and staff had to quickly pivot and somehow still focus and be productive amidst uncertainty, loss, and injustice.
The capacity to behold complexity, embrace change, and anchor in gratitude amidst challenge are all required to live a balanced life. Connection, community, and friendship are also essential in living a fulfilling life. This pandemic year certainly tested our capacities to live balanced and fulfilling lives. AND while it is not over, progress and improvements and hope are visible and palpable. It feels similar to the cycles of hope and trust that unfold when we grow food or plants. It starts with a seed. While we can follow best practices as growers, we also must remain hopeful and surrender to the plants and their capacity to thrive.
Keeping up with assignments, emails, and performing well on exams is already quite a lot. Sharing a house with roommates, helping care for family, and navigating complicated conversations about COVID protocols is difficult. Reconciling political and protocol differences amongst family and friends is also difficult. Add this on top of the already overwhelming demands of being a student… it is so difficult! Many of you navigated hardships that perhaps went unseen. While I don’t know the extent of what this past year has been for each of you, I do know it was hard. I witnessed students showing up for each other in ways that kept me hopeful and clarified how important community is in order for us to thrive.
Since SFF students are spread out across the globe, and this year’s graduation looks different than what you might have imagined, I’m here to remind you that you did it! AND you did it as a part of a larger community! You always will belong to the Stockbridge School of Agriculture Sustainable Food & Farming family. On behalf of all of your instructors and advisors in SFF, we are so proud of your accomplishments and wish you the very best in your next steps…whatever they may be. If you don’t know what your next steps are, that is OK! While financial pressures undoubtedly persist, I hope you can take some time to celebrate your accomplishments and just be, even if only for seemingly fleeting moments. Please stay in touch with me and each other. Happy summer and CONGRATS TO THE CLASS OF 2021!
-Sarah Berquist (she/her)
Program Coordinator, Lecturer & Advisor for SFF