On my last day as a student at Yale-NUS College, I decided to film the sunrise. From the vantage point of my 25th-floor suite, I set up my camera toward the east and clicked the shutter. Hues of amber first seeped through the distant clouds. Then a glowing sphere of orange emerged from the horizon and lifted the lingering mists of the twilight, revealing the contours of Singapore’s urban landscape.

I haven’t set foot on the Yale-NUS campus since 2018 when I came to Yale for graduate school. I reminisce a lot about the view from our high-rise residential towers. The heavily trafficked seaport to the south, busy arterial highways connecting public housing estates to the west and north and lush urban forests to the east. Those sights never grew old, and the memory of my Yale-NUS community hasn’t faded away since I left.

Receiving the news of Yale-NUS College’s dissolution was devastating. It feels like being told that a loved one had a terminal disease with a terrible prognosis. With every passing day their life and luster diminish a little. I want to be home. I want to see them with my own eyes. I want to be able to do something. Yet an ocean and a pandemic keep me away. And the adults in the family who supposedly know the reality of life try to assure and comfort. Some also tell us, not so subtly, to give up hope. It’s hard for everyone, but it’s better to focus the energy on moving forward, and hold on to whatever we can.

The defeatist grown-up talk did not get through. I joined my schoolmates to rally everything in our power, even pushing the envelope, to save our own family. Among the groundswell of organizing, past and present students liaised with members of Parliament, wrote letters and columns defending the value of Yale-NUS and liberal arts education in Singapore and put up an online petition that has gathered over 14,000 signatures against the top-down decision-making of NUS.

Truth be told, after three weeks, my stubborn optimism is starting to wear a little thin. After all, we are fighting and questioning “a considered” decision, a fait accompli, a “merger” endorsed by the country’s minister of education himself. This does not look like a battle we can win — the adults may have a point. But a past shared and a future promised together are at stake here. Our kinship and family are at stake. How can we concede and give up?

The pain of loss hasn’t dulled and I am still incredibly angry. It took past and present students, faculty and staff more than a decade to painstakingly bring the Yale-NUS community to life. Yet the NUS administrators planned our senescence did so single-handedly and clandestinely, and are now executing it with much greater haste. We demand and deserve answers but have received nothing satisfactory.

For the past few weeks I’ve been trapped in the cycle of grief, feeling betrayed, disillusioned, powerless and indignant all at once. I want closure, closure that probably won’t come from the powers that be. Instead, going through these emotions has given me some solace. I tell myself that it’s okay to have conflicting reactions. And I want to say this to my friends, too: It’s okay to get riled up one moment, and slumber in quiet resignation alone the next hour. We are experiencing a collective loss, and every type of reaction is justified.

It will take a long time for all of us to fully process what closure means. For now, I choose to continue this silly denial and resistance. It may or may not salvage Yale-NUS College, but I believe our resistance is an act of remembering. A remembering that will define our community’s continued existence even after our name is erased from the walls.

As I sit in front of my desk and type this letter, the short clip of a time lapse that I recorded is kept on replay. That morning was an emotional moment to bid farewell to the community that I had just shared four years of my life with. I wrote in the caption, “The Move-out Day for the Class of 2017. For many like me, this was the last night (and morning) on campus. Tomorrow, the sun still rises.”

I hoped to see that sunrise again. Maybe in 2022, at the 5-year reunion for the class of 2017. I also hoped that many generations of Yale-NUS students after us would get to enjoy the spectacular view. It is now a dashed hope. The sun won’t rise on Yale-NUS College again.

Yihao Xie is a graduate of Yale-NUS College ('17) and Yale School of the Environment ('19).