The Grind

Once upon a time at Stanford

May 2, 2022, 7:44 p.m.

Once upon a time, there was a magical land called The Farm. It was home to some of the best and brightest, nerdiest and nicest, coolest and craziest adults from around the whole world. It is rumored that for every 100 people that tried to get in, less than four were able to make it. 

Those who were lucky enough to find their way to the village hidden in the palm trees were treated to many treasures. It is said that the skies were often the brightest shade of blue, there was rarely a cloud in the sky and the grass was unendingly green. At times, it seemed like the whole town was under a spell. One could easily find the inhabitants soaking in the sun outside, chatting and laughing under the picture-perfect sky. Some relaxed in the grass, and others peacefully played sports in the sand. During the rainy days and dark evenings of winter, the inhabitants of The Farm often took on heavy loads, bearing the brunt of their work so that they could enjoy the fruits of the spring. With its near-perfect weather and immaculate West Coast chillness, The Farm was nothing short of magic, especially in the spring. It was a very special and very prized place indeed.

The inhabitants also had some very interesting habits. Despite a hard-working and intelligent nature, they had also had a carefree and irreverent side to them. They worshiped trees. They hopped in fountains. Sometimes, they would all open their windows and scream at midnight. Once a year, they would even dye the fountains red and impale a stuffed animal on a particular fountain dubbed “The Claw,” chanting a hymn as they did so. Another day of the year, everybody would hug and kiss (or watch people hug and kiss) under the full moon until midnight. There were many wacky and wonderful traditions that the inhabitants of The Farm executed with love and pride.   

But one day, The Farm lost its magic. Everything changed when a big (or rather, microscopic) bad virus came into town. The Farm emptied as many of the inhabitants were forced to leave and journeyed back to their original homes. Life on The Farm quickly came to a standstill. From the grass of Meyer Green to the empty Lake Lag, to the cacti of the garden to the bricks of Main Quad, an eerie silence fell upon the land. Only two weeks, they were told this would last, that soon the inhabitants would be safe to return and that everything would be under control. But eventually, days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into a year. And the inhabitants were scattered all around the world, away from the magical place they had learned to call home, not knowing when they would return. 

Soon, despair filled the former inhabitants of The Farm. They began to wonder if they would ever go back. Some felt the whole experience was a dream. Others now experienced a nightmare. Amidst their quest for solace, they all took different paths. Some inhabitants remained on The Farm, despite its state, while others stayed at home. Some even traveled the world. No matter their location, their dreams were filled with the hope that they would one day be together again. 

About six months after the virus came into town, driving all the inhabitants out, they received a hopeful message. Half of them were to return to The Farm for a few months, the other half to return in the following months and so on and so forth for the remainder of the year. The inhabitants became excited. Even if they could not all be back, at least half of them could reunite. But their happiness was short-lived. For a few weeks before the return, they received another message — none of them would be allowed to come back, with the exception of the few that needed to. And those that did return would be trapped in the tall tall tower that was EVGR-A.  

The inhabitants were upset, but with the big, bad, microscopic virus jumping around, they knew not to expect too much. The fall season proved to be hard and lonely, but the inhabitants did their best to get by. After a long and arduous period, the winter came, along with another hopeful message. Once again, half of the inhabitants would be granted access to The Farm. Excitedly, they began planning where they would live, happily packing their belongings and scheduling their trips in anticipation. They were overjoyed, that was, until a few weeks before their return. Yet again, the same message came: none of them would be coming back to campus, save a few who truly had to.  

The residents were devastated. How would they come together after being apart for so long? Would things even return to normal once they came back? Winter passed, and the residents began to lose faith that things would ever be the same. 

Then, some hope appeared on the horizon. People were coming up with new ways to fight the big, bad microscopic virus. A third hopeful message came, proclaiming that half of the inhabitants — those closest to finishing their journey on The Farm — would be allowed back in the spring. Some of the inhabitants braced themselves for the same disappointment they faced in the fall and winter while others held onto slivers of hope. Miraculously, after much doubt and uncertainty, the message proved to be true! Although things were more subdued, life slowly but surely came back to The Farm as the inhabitants trickled back into the place they called home. 

Then, in the summertime, more life seeped in; the other half came as another half left. As fall was approaching, things were looking promising. 

Then, another hopeful message came, saying that all The Farm’s residents could come back for the fall. And true that message came to be!

It was a beautiful sight to see. Friends who had not seen each other for almost two years reunited. New inhabitants experienced the classic joys of The Farm. Inhabitants who had only seen each other through dimly lit screens met in person. The Farm’s strange yet wonderful traditions began to return, and The Farm began to feel like its old self once again.

And so, after a very, very long year and a half, full of many letdowns and false hopes, they returned again.

  ***

Happy that everyone has finally returned after the year we’ve just had and hoping you all enjoy the magic that awaits us here on The Farm. Happy spring 2022!

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