Searching for meaning after a year away from La Salle


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

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My friends and I had a conversation the other day lamenting what we missed and what we missed out on over this past year since none of us were on campus. We talked about dinners at B&G, the recycling situation at the townhouses and the Late Night La Salle events we used to attend. Every week on Wednesdays, I remember the long nights (trapped) in the basement of the Union, editing the Collegian with a buffalo chicken Subway sub beside me while Bianca cloncked around the room in her high heeled boots throwing around ideas for the editorial. Every so often, a professor or student in one of my classes will begin a sentence with “Well, back when we were on campus,” or “So, if we were still on campus, we could” and I remember the “good old days” back when we could talk face-to-face and chat in the hallways before classes and office hours were “just show up” and not “wait for me to email you a Zoom link.”

And then I get all sad about it. I think it’s pretty easy to get into that sort of mindset. I think it’s pretty justified. I can’t lie and say there haven’t been times where I think about everything I did freshman year or the beginning of sophomore year and I’m hit with “wait a second, did I just lose an entire year of college?”

Did I? Did we?

I think the answer is no. But I also think I understand why I (and a whole lot of other people) think that’s not the case.

I don’t need to go on and on about how these aren’t ideal circumstances for anyone, how this has been hard on all of us, how this has certainly affected some people and some situations more than others. We all know it and have heard it before. This article isn’t supposed to be a rehashed sob story or some cheesy “It’s all alright!”

I guess I’ve just been feeling dejected. I think the end of the semester will do that to you in general, but I suppose I should’ve expected it more now, when we can’t pull all-nighters in the Connelly Library or beg the printers in Wister Hall to work because please, please, it’s 8:27 a.m. and my philosophy class is on the third floor and I still have five pages that haven’t made it off of the computer yet.

And so I’m looking for something. I’m not sure what, exactly. Probably a sign, like I usually am, because I’m big on signs. Some sign that this past year and change wasn’t a total wash (I know it wasn’t, somewhere in my real brain — I still learned and experienced a lot of things, both academically and not — but my emotional brain is still wishing I was playing bingo in the Union Ballroom or eating chicken nuggets with my roommates at Treetops or just existing around a community of other people who aren’t my family or my coworkers).

So here are my end of the semester thoughts: I’m searching for something. Maybe it’s guidance, maybe it’s a more specific sense of purpose, maybe it’s some sort of direction or explanation. I’m not sure what it is, exactly; I just know I’m seeking something that I feel like I’m missing.

And in a religion class last night, where the topic was spirituality, religion and those who drift away (and sometimes come back) to organized faiths, Brother Mike posed a question about the intrinsic value of that looking for something, both within and outside of organized religious traditions.

And he said something that I think applies not only to religious searching but to searching for meaning, anywhere and everywhere and especially now:

“The search is part of the experience.”

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