I write to arm you with the faculties and tackles required to capture the significance and depth of this College. I write to sit with you atop the jebel that is the College and to consume the affection in its air. To earn such bravura, to dance with the true value of this place, you are required to possess a distinct modality of thought. Perhaps this is a wavelength with fewer nuances and more simplicity than the ones that we grapple with every day. It requires that we look into the crevasses of our souls to unearth an open and vulnerable tang of sentiment, one where we give each other the benefit of the doubt throughout every inch of the four-year path that we walk together. In fleeting moments of insight, I taste the truth of this mentality. Here is my best way of explaining it: I have a feeling that inside every student at the College, there is a thriving and exultant buzz that vibrates at a harmonized frequency. This allows for intimacy, fondness and enchantment at an unmatched and untouchable level.
I will first explain to you how this buzz manifests itself; I will explain its flavor, its sensation, and I want you to fill in the empty cells of my description with the juices of your own experiences. The buzz is likely to arise from our mutual weakness for each other. Each person at the College has at least a tinge of magnificence that is his or her own, but all are simultaneously fascinated by the tinges that they feel from others. This breeds a universal reverberation of admiration that, with exceptions, of course, allows us to consider other Ephs as worthy of our time. The buzz manifests itself at large-scale gatherings, as we all march to Poker for the senior bonfire and as we note the familiarity of each of the bobbing heads of acquaintances as we leave Paresky during a fire alarm. It manifests itself as we sit at graduation and the faces around us do not belong to mysterious degree-receivers. Rather, almost everyone represents a character with whom we have unfinished stories. These are moments when we realize that there is a tasteful familiarity to each face and soul near to us as we sit in Paresky, maybe happy, maybe buzzed, and slip glances onto the whispers of people on distant tables. This beautiful truth is a testament to our community and community, in multiple senses of the word.
But we do not allow ourselves to rely on this truth. We seldom let ourselves think that others are connected to us in some way, that they may be willing to open the doors of their souls to us. Ironically, this feeling can get very pronounced at the College, a place where it is most untrue. In fact, the facets of ourselves that would be most valuable for us to share can be bulwarks of inaccessibility.
Accordingly, doses of healthy and sometimes unhealthy falsiloquence about the College occasionally dominate the ears and eyes of the students here. I write to ask that you not allow it to overshadow the preciousness that the College holds for you in your own thoughts. To do so would be an algetic neglect of the superiority of the ethos and emotionality of the College. After all, this school is a place that treats many problems with a tenderness that most other colleges or enterprises lack entirely. I want you to safeguard this fragile exquisiteness because it has no means of defending itself if we do not acknowledge that it exists.
Likewise, I want you to acknowledge the value of your brushes with other people on campus. At the College, we are a little too steeped in each other’s realities to deny our intimacies. With every walk to Paresky or Science Quad, with every passage by the graveyard near Mission, with every stolen look at the adamantly quiescent mountains on the way to Sawyer, you pass by students who are more than mere bodies that have enrolled in the same undergraduate degree program. In these near misses with your soul that I experience with every walk to class, I hope that there exists an unnamed desire in your heart to reach out and touch my own spirit. This is the factive prophecy of the College, the vaticiny that I cast upon you now. This is the reality of the College that I know. I do not ask that you act on this desire for closeness, nor do I need you to stumble upon the luck of understanding it. But I hope that I can make it salient in your mind. I hope that this awareness swims to the forefront of your being and allows you to feel the Williams that I feel.
Let this be a love letter to you. Let this be a love letter to the College, every piece of which leaves its spoors on me and everyone else who drinks from its magic.
Ali Tafreshi ’15 is a biology and psychology double major from Los Angeles, Calif. He lives in Dodd.