I have not in the past been much into personal anniversaries: they always felt rather over-indulgent to me. But, in the past few years, I have become a big fan of marking achievements and major milestones, and celebrating those things which I have invested time and energy into.
When I arrived in the College 18 months ago, celebrating key dates in the College calendar was a great way to feel part of the community I had joined. There were fixed dates through the year when we shared our mission and collective memories: pillars of the calendar such UWC Day, UN Night and Culturama, as well as special days for individual schools such as book character dress-up day. Each date comes with a history, a story and a legacy, shared and celebrated by the community.
Anniversaries are in the collective consciousness this month, eliciting mixed emotions as we hit the first anniversaries related to COVID-19. We will probably always remember where we were when we first heard about this mysterious flu-like virus, which is what our first health and safety posters in the College called it. Each of us tells the story of COVID-19 through our own lens and personal experience.
Whatever the anniversary, it gives us a chance to look back over the years since the event we’re marking, and reflect on how the passage of time has shaped us as individuals, and our community. Remembering the past (but without letting it rule us) and marking the milestones in our calendar can be an important part of our understanding of who we each are in relation to our community, and how we best plan for the future anniversaries in the making.
Anniversaries are important for communities to come together and remember events that have had a collective impact. Next year, as we celebrate the College’s 50th anniversary and Singapore as our home, past, present and future, we will be focusing on our common purpose to strive for a more inclusive world, and for a more equitable future. Watch out for invitations to send in ideas on how we can celebrate this key milestone with our community, as well as dates for the diary - coming soon.
What a wonderful thought: making future memories, through celebrating our milestones. Nothing self-indulgent in that!