A Time of Transition

Written by Lauren Hartman

Photography by Aida Farrokh Ebrahimi


Fall is a time of transition.


The air itself is cooler, the wind biting as it races across the placid lake. Some days the sky is overcast, heavy in a way that seems to weigh down the students as they walk to class, somber, but other times the sun streams through the yellowing leaves, its last offerings of warmth soaking into the pavement.


The libraries are full, their scratched wooden tables cluttered with ragged notebooks and abandoned sweatshirts. Shadowed bags under the students’ eyes mark the first warning signs of midterm season. Steaming cups of coffee warm their hands, the bittersweet scent permeating the musty library air.


On Saturdays the campus comes alive, the scarlet red of hair bows and striped overalls stark against the backdrop of brick buildings. Distant thumps and cheers signal the marching band’s arrival as alumni stream through the Camp Randall arch. Parents pose their rosy-cheeked toddlers for pictures with the stadium in the background.


Fall is a time of transition.


Gone are the sweltering days of summer, their afternoons spent scanning produce at the cash register or napping by the pool while nannying, hair frizzy with humidity. Gone are the nights spent reuniting with high school friends, frequenting the diners where the waitresses have their patrons’ orders memorized. Gone are the lazy Sunday mornings filled with newspapers and chocolate chip pancakes. Gone is the longing for college friends.  

Winter looms in the distance, the chill of fall evenings carrying its reminder. Runny noses and scratchy throats warn of snow-soaked socks and icy roads and missing mittens, of holidays and snowball fights and hot chocolate by the fire.


Fall is a time of transition.


It can be a period of adjustment, full of first freedoms and new experiences but also homesickness and mountains of homework. There are steps that can be taken to make this season a pleasant one: study groups and tutoring provide homework help, free mental health counseling is available at University Health Services, and a prolific amount of distractions—intramural sports to farmer’s markets to concerts and everything in between—can be found in the Madison community when a  break from studying is desperately needed. Whether fall is an exciting season full of promise and excitement or a tumultuous period of exhaustion, one thing is for certain: it is a time of transition.