Letter to the Reader: Our Year of Change

Bird on tree

Change or die. That is the only true law of our world. When the atmosphere fills with oxygen, you leave the sea for the land. When the dark comes, you learn to kindle fire for light. When a new virus sweeps the globe, you wear a mask and grit your teeth behind it.  

Tembusu is no stranger to change. Part of a programme with a high turnover rate, its student population resets every two years. More so in recent years, with the decrease in vacancies for senior stay, in itself a new change. With fewer senior students to be the bridge between batches, freshmen now have more and more say in shaping the college culture. The culture of Tembusu is a changeable one, remade with every new batch of students.

Following the recent departure of Tembusu’s senior batch, a new team has necessarily stepped into the editorial office of Treehouse, with perhaps more haste and anxiousness than we would have preferred. Ushered in amidst new social distancing regulations, the abolishment of the Out-of-Classroom Learning (OOCL) programme to which Treehouse once belonged—a programme since then superseded by the Out-of-Classroom Teaching initiative (OCT)—and a whole whirlwind of changes, our new team must wonder: on the choices we make to change; on the choices we will make this academic year, before the relentless wave of change that will inevitably overtake us next year.  

For one, we are certain that our new status as an Interest Group (IG) will not alter Treehouse’s commitment to serve Tembusians in any way. If anything, Treehouse is more firmly than ever committed to the student body it seeks to represent, and staying rooted to the tradition of student-run college journals in making students seen and heard.

Treehouse remains dedicated to the purpose of deepening the landscape of thought in Tembusu College through inspiring reflection and conversation among our readers. From the buds of your experiences, your observations, your thoughts and your interests, blossom the narratives with deeper meaning and critical insight that together bring life to this ever-changing ecosystem.  

And perhaps the preservation of this ecosystem and the deepening of roots is more important than ever. As COVID-19 undermines the usually highly social environment of Tembusu, and consequently its atmosphere of constant conversation and lively debate, Treehouse hopes to be what connects students together, across time, across distances. A Treehouse that brings minds together, brings people together.

The winds of change can shake leaves from their branches and uproot even the sturdiest of trees. Treehouse will continue to publish the stories we feel need to be heard, be they opinion articles, college events coverage, political pieces, personal voices, human interest stories, or social critique. We will dig deep and rise high. But a tree is only ever as strong as the ecosystem it grows in.

And so we appeal to you, dear reader, grow with us. Your voice speaks over any howling wind. Give us your writing, your comments. Give us your hopes and fears, your anxieties and ambitions. Grow with us. Dare to grow an abundance of fruits, to grow branches strong and sky-high, and the migratory birds will always have someplace they can come home to roost.

Some things must change, if only so the most important of them may stay the same.

Feature image by Chris Lawton from Unsplash. Header image by Brian Yurasits from Unsplash.