I once jumped out of a plane, falling freely, briefly terrified, immersed in a cushion of air, an unparalleled view of the ground, my parachute firmly in place.
An entanglement of unrivaled freedom, risk, and fear makes free-fall exhilarating: defying convention, embracing the moment, while knowing the odds favor your landing safely.
In just one week, fall will be upon us. Harvard Yard will once again be incrementally transformed by a canopy of spectacular red, yellow, and orange leaves — small reminders that beginnings and ends can rarely be separated. For some, the semester’s start signals the end of the Harvard experience they felt they had once been promised; for others, it is the end of life at home, but the beginning of a long-awaited dream, though one manifesting as a very different reality.
One way or another, students are returning to a school that will not resemble anything experienced, or even imagined, by their peers who have walked Harvard’s grounds for the past 384 years.