The cover of the book The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, with a sun in the middle and mountains and a stream on the sunI recommend the fable The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Originally recommended to me by a fellow member of the orientation staff, The Alchemist is at its core a story of following one’s own personal legend. In this age of unprecedented challenges, of a remote semester, of a world in grand upheaval, I found The Alchemist to be a call to action—a call to not to give up hope. Without giving much away: The protagonist, Santiago, faces challenges that he never expected to encounter in his lifetime; he is broken down and challenged to his core. Yet, he persists.

The Alchemist means a lot to me, in part because of when I read it. I finished the book about two weeks before the community was informed we wouldn’t return in full to campus. Like many, I was gutted by the news. Yet, this book offered me some semblance of hope, that these challenges that we are facing are in some way a part of each of our own personal legends. That these challenges are opportunities to grow, to explore, to become more than what we once were. That years from now, when each of us is old and gray, this semester apart will not have been our defining moment, but instead a chapter in our legend.

In short, The Alchemist is the epitome of Cur Non, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
—Matt Post ’22

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