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Stories

Ch. 4: Doing College in Corona-stricken NYC

Keeping Up with King’s follows the lives of King’s students as they transition to online learning for the rest of the semester. Many have moved back home with family until the summer, some have stayed in the city, others are staying with friends, but all are adjusting to new lifestyles. 

Today’s story features a student who did not leave the city. Graeme Straughn is a first-year Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major who is finishing his semester in Brooklyn. Before the semester moved online, Graeme lived off-campus. Technically, he’s still off-campus, but he has moved in with a friend whose other roommates have all moved back home. Both are members of the House of C.S. Lewis and are staying busy with schoolwork and keeping up the apartment. 

Graeme’s mornings typically involve an iced americano, some last minute reading, and having class. In the afternoons, he does his best to take a walk in Prospect Park and keep in touch with his family. Evenings include more reading, doing homework, and maybe watching a movie.  Even though structure is hard when there are no outside events or incentive, this routine helps keep the days from blending together. 

Since he can’t continue his hobby of building Legos (check out his Lego projects on Instagram!), Graeme has invested some of his spare time in applying to scholarships. Now that he has the chance, he is also trying to read more: “I have so many books that people have given me that I’ve started and haven’t even finished yet,” he says. Currently Graeme recommends the book Learning in Wartime by C.S. Lewis. 

What books are you reading with your extra time at home? Leave a comment below!

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Stories

Ch. 3: Keeping Busy and Staying Strong

Keeping Up with King’s follows the lives of King’s students as they transition to online learning for the rest of the semester. Many have moved back home with family until the summer, some have stayed in the city, others are staying with friends, but all are adjusting to new lifestyles. 

Today’s feature is Media, Culture, and the Arts major Marisa Ayerst. Marisa is a Senior graduating in the Fall of 2020. She also serves as President of The King’s Players and as Interregnum Associate for the house of Clara Barton. Throughout the school year, Marisa lives off-campus with two King’s alumni and another King’s senior. Though she had plans to return to her apartment after spring break, she is currently staying with her family in Michigan for the time being.

While she is home, Marisa has kept busy helping her dad with his martial arts school. The team at Ayerst Choi Kwang Do is converting in-person classes to online classes so kids can stay active and engaged at home. Marisa has been setting up the new online format; she says it is bringing the martial arts community together internationally. Check out Keeping Up With King’s on Instagram for a repost of Marisa’s quick Choi-Kwang-Do-style tutorial on social distancing!

One of the hardest changes for Marisa after the semester moved online was having to cancel the play she was producing with The King’s Players. Throughout the semester, the cast and crew members had been working ardently on their production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Breaking the news to the team was really disheartening, but Marisa hopes to plan other engagement opportunities for the Players that can be facilitated online. 

In order to stay in routine, Marisa goes on drives every morning as she prepares for the day. She says that her new circumstances have given her a chance to sit down and focus on the things she has at home, such as spending time with her siblings. She is thankful for a support system (both in her neighborhood and within her community at King’s) that keeps her strong.

As you work through disappointment from cancelled plans, surround yourself (symbolically, per CDC guidelines) with people like Marisa, who keep busy and stay strong. 

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Stories

Ch. 2: How To Do “Social Distancing” With Grace

Keeping Up with King’s follows the lives of King’s students as they transition to online learning for the rest of the semester. Many have moved back home with family until the summer, others have stayed in the city, but all are adjusting to new lifestyles. 

Today’s story features Neidin Shelnutt, a bright freshman from North Carolina. Before classes went online, Neidin lived in Brooklyn through campus housing. She is currently staying with her parents in North Carolina with possible plans to visit extended family in Georgia. Although she is probably going to stay with family for the rest of the semester, Neidin does plan on going back to New York City (once it settles down) to get some things she left at her apartment. She also hopes to make plans to see some friends (from a safe distance!).  

In conversation, Neidin radiated a positive perspective about changes that many might grumble over. Here are some tips I picked up from her on how to handle social distancing with grace:

1) Find some hobbies! While Neidin wishes she had brought her guitar back to North Carolina, she now enjoys spending some time at the piano and tuning into her artistic side. She would like to do more photography and get a few canvases to fill, and she is grateful to have more time for reading books that are not school-related. 

2) Be thankful! One good thing Neidin has noticed in this season of social distancing is that people are communicating more genuinely than usual. Since they can’t see each other in person, they become intentional with spending time “together” using technology. That’s three things to be thankful for already: extra time for hobbies, friendships becoming stronger, and innovative tech that keeps those friendships going.

3) Take a minute to reflect! Although leaving campus was difficult, Neidin shared, “Now that I’m home, I’m kind of glad I’m home.” Having a slower pace has given her opportunities to be mindful. And when she returns to the city, her interactions with friends will be more meaningful.

Although there are many challenges to the semester’s new format, Neidin has the right idea in embracing the positives. If you’ve gotta do social distancing, at least you can do it with grace. 

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Basics

Ch. 1: Good, Brave, Ready

Throughout the academic year, students of The King’s College in New York City have been preparing to be “Good, Brave, and Ready.” As they take classes and participate in campus events, students are focused on becoming good, brave, and ready to influence culture as they interact with the world. 

This mantra has taken on new meaning in light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic. In order to protect its community, The King’s College has shifted operations online for the rest of the semester. Many have moved back home, some have stayed in New York City, but all are adjusting to new lifestyles and overcoming new obstacles. Across the entire institution, students, staff, and faculty are making the best of their circumstances. They still strive to be good, brave, and ready to face whatever challenges come their way. The options students face as they continue their semester online include:

  • Going home with family – These students have decided it is best to move out of on-campus housing and to live with their immediate family until May. 
  • Staying in the city – These students have decided it is best not to take any chances by going home to higher-risk family members; for them, it makes more sense to stay. 
  • Going home with a friend – These students have decided it is best to live with a friend and their family while they decide where to finish the semester. 
  • Moving in with a friend in the city – These students have decided to move in with a friend whose roommates have all gone home so they can combine resources and strengthen their community.

That’s where Keeping Up comes in: The mission of this little blog is to shine a light on King’s students as they adjust to their new lifestyles. You’re invited to the party— Feel free to share your story in the comments below!

Bringing together the stories of individual members in our community strengthens us as a whole. May we discover silver linings to clouds of uncertainty and change.