One of my favorite things about the start of a new school year is welcoming new choristers into our UChoir community. This semester is different than most, and not being able to make music together in-person has been a profound loss for many of us in UChoir. However, we are still working to make beautiful music together, and to strengthen our community by learning about what has been bringing us all joy during these past few months. Below, find selections from a few choristers about rituals they have adopted during these past months.
- Kath Courtemanche '21 (Senior Choir Secretary)
One ritual that my 5 blockmates and I have begun and maintained over the past 6 months is a 1-hour FaceTime every Monday and Friday. While the mood and content may vary, we always begin with everyone offering their “vibe check” and end with everyone answering a “deep question” (these range from “What is your favorite scent?” to “When was the last time you changed your opinion about something?”). I am so grateful for this built-in time to process the ups and downs of quarantine, virtual school, and uncertainties about the future with some of the people who matter the most to me at Harvard.
- Rena Cohen ’22 (Junior Choir Secretary)
I have loved spending time with my family and also working on my craft during the pandemic. I am very blessed to have a loving home, filled with amazing parents and fantastic older brothers. God has also blessed me with a love for music and for that, I am so grateful. Focusing on gratitude and God has helped me stay super optimistic!
- Caitlin Beirne ’24
As I embark on my leave of absence, I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety about the uncertain future and how to make my time worthwhile. To cope, I am trying daily guided meditation with the Headspace app. It's an exercise that helps ground me in the present and teaches me to acknowledge my emotions without immediately judging them or trying to get rid of them. It's certainly a skill that takes practice, but I already see some small improvements.
-Maliya Ellis ’23
I wrote a daily devotional several months ago about how a daily practice of journaling has helped me remain grounded during these past six months. I still journal daily, which has been a welcome respite from the goal-oriented writing that schoolwork requires. Additionally, I have always loved plants, but I have derived so much joy during these first few weeks of the semester, from caring for and observing the growth of my many houseplants. Having something to nurture, even if it is just a plant, has given me a way to appreciate the small victories of a new monstera leaf unfurling, or a finicky fern perking up a few hours after being watered.
- Kath Courtemanche ’21 (Senior Choir Secretary)