Slideshow: Students write postcards to the University Archives

  • Two female students with library-branded journals standing next to the event posters
  • Four female students writing postcards at table
  • Arrangement of postcards on table showing students' comments
  • Students writing postcards at table outside library
  • Male student writing a postcard at a high-top table
  • Arrangement of postcards on table showing students' comments
  • Female students placing postcards in a box
  • Male and female students writing postcards at table
  • Selection of overlapping postcards on table showing students' comments
  • Female student writing a postcard
  • Staff member giving a journal to a student
  • Overlapping postcards on table showing partial text of students' comments
October 9, 2021

On Sept. 8,  students stopped by Sterling Memorial Library to write postcards for the University Archives about how it feels to be on campus with in-person classes again. A total of 239 students pondered and scribbled responses to the question: What excites you about being on campus?

The most common themes were jubilation and gratitude at being able to interact with peers and professors in person.

“Getting to be back on campus means I get to live with my friends again,” one student wrote. “I’ve missed simple things like walking to classes and seeing people in person during seminars.”

Some responses were threaded with awareness of the continuing pandemic and future uncertainties.

“Back after 1.5 years, it feels like a surreal dream,” a student wrote. “I didn’t think the day would come where normal, wonderful Yale was back. This week has been a mix of elation and fear—elation at seeing long lost and loved friends, professors, people again, fear at the ever present dread of COVID, but we are here, for now, on this beautiful September day, and I am grateful.”

A few students brought artistry to their expressions of excitement. One student sketched a pen-and-ink drawing of Sterling, while another response evoked the rhythms of Bob Dylan: “It’s good to be back … Campus is alive again, Social life is a-rumbling, the wind’s a-blowing. How long will this last? There’s no way a-knowing.”

The event was part of the library’s ongoing efforts to gather and preserve students’ pandemic experiences through the Help Us Make History initiative spearheaded by University Archivist Michael Lotstein. Students who missed the event are invited to post their response online at

Photos by Joanna Carmona and Amanda Patrick