Some time during the night of Saturday, December 16th, 2017, a tree was planted in the middle of Erickson field. Where did it come from? Who planted it? Those are questions that may never be answered. But we do know where it went. This morning the tree was taken from us. Pulled from the nourishing ground and loaded unceremoniously into the back of a Club Car. The beautiful Finalsmas tree is now gone.
Artfully adorned with battery powered lights, candy canes, empty liquor bottles, condoms, solo cups, and a picture of our esteemed president Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III as the star, the Finalsmas tree stood tall and proud. Revelers placed gifts at the tree: Mountain Dew, their hopes of passing classes, their broken GPAs, their failed careers. A gift exchange was even arranged online as students from all walks of majors and housed from different dorms came together. They used what little Flex that was still in their accounts to purchase gift cards, Outtakes commodities, and reinvigorated hopes and dreams.
In the midst of the stress and worry of finals week, students wondered:
“Will I pass?”
“Can I make it to medical school?”
“Will I be stuck here for a sixth year at this school?”
The Finalsmas tree was a creative outlet and source of joy for these students’ struggles. It never hurt a soul -- it was gentle and kind... and most importantly, it made us smile.
Remember when you first spied the tree? You walked out of the RLC at two in the morning and saw the twinkling lights shining in the darkest of times. It garnered a real sense of community as laughter exuded from the field. This odd shrub made you feel at home-- cozy, even. Finals week wasn’t as helpless as you once thought it was.
The Finalsmas Tree may be gone from our lives, but never from our hearts. Or from the dumpsters of Facilities Management, who were tasked by ResLife to remove it from its lonely spot in Erickson Field.
The students circled around the tree with teary eyes:
“This finals tree that no one had wanted, they could hardly believe their eyes. The students had transformed it into something truly special. And everyone sang:
Hark, the stress that finals bring
Eased by the unsourced sapling!
Peace was found in Erickson Field
Sad STEM majors reconciled
Joyful, those who witnessed it
Felt the triumph of True Grit
Sharing love and old gift cards
Bringing warmth to cold, dead hearts
Not condoned by the university
Glory to Finalsmas Tree!"
-- MBC News