Boston College has a remarkably beautiful campus. While I enjoy many of the spaces this campus offers, there is one place that “does it” for me like no other. Technically, this place is not a part of our campus, but it is just across the street.
The place I am referring to is none other than the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I have a great degree of undying love for this body of water—which sounds ridiculous. So let me explain.
My love for the Res ignited when I lived in 2K during my sophomore year. Because of how close it was, I visited the Res whenever I could. I even set a goal to walk around it every day, a goal I still try to complete though I live in 90 now. Unfortunately, I have not been as successful this semester, yet I still make the trek whenever my busy schedule allows for it.
The Res has seen me at my best. These days, I throw on my AirPods, select the most poppy, upbeat music I can find, and walk its perimeter counterclockwise (the correct direction) while people-watching and admiring the crystal blue ripples and waves on its surface. The paradoxical nature of the Res Walk—tuning out the world for a half an hour but also taking it all in—is a deeply fulfilling source of peace and happiness for me. The trails connected to the Res’ path also provide me with immense serotonin boosts, as I have always loved nature walks and feeling like a tiny little human surrounded by a thriving complex ecosystem.
The Res has also seen me at my worst. Toward the end of the spring semester of my sophomore year, life became too much. Anxiety, stress, and fear consumed my mind for about a two-week period, and I found myself at the lowest point in my life. I was scared about things I shouldn’t have been concerned about, which sent me in a downward spiral during finals week of all times. I had no motivation to study for finals, no desire to write my papers, and no inclination to really do anything. What I did have was the Res.
I distinctly remember crying during my Res walks for these weeks and sitting on the benches feeling hopeless and terrified. I told no one how I was feeling—which was likely my first mistake—but the Res was a space where I could let it all out in a way that was unconventionally therapeutic.
Upon finishing my finals and heading home for summer vacation, I began to find a much more positive headspace. Sure, I would have to say goodbye to the Res for a month until I returned to campus for my summer job, but I never forgot the times when the Res acted as a place of refuge where my emotions could pour out of me, and I felt completely safe letting them.
The next time you find yourself at the Res, take it all in. Mount the rocks hidden among the trees and brush and look down on the water below. Sit on a bench and watch as couples walk by showcasing severe PDA, or as a shirtless gym bro runs in the “wrong” direction. And best of all, take a stroll around the Res itself and press pause on your hectic schedule for a little while. You may just discover a new happy place.