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Senior Spotlights Stories

Finishing Strong: Graduating Amidst a Pandemic

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 soon-to-be graduate Thomas Gatt, a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major in the house of Reagan. Before King’s went online, Thomas lived off-campus with some friends from King’s, and came home to stay during spring break. He is finishing his semester in Arlington, Texas, with three other siblings at home. Since his best fountain pens were at home, Thomas has started writing letters again and experimenting with different handwriting styles. 

Thomas has been writing a letter to his fellow seniors (keep an eye out for it soon!). He hopes to thank his classmates for all of the memories they helped create, regardless of how bumpy the road has been. He is thankful that his friends have stayed closed and banded together through the past few years. Even though classes have ended differently, and Interregnum took place differently, Thomas says he was astounded by the involvement of the senior class. He believes this resilience will prepare them for success wherever they go next, and he is proud to be graduating with a group of such strong character.

To the other students, Thomas hopes to encourage them to persevere– not just through the trial of social isolation, but through whatever other paths for character development they encounter. He says that, in the journey to become what God has destined for us to become, it is important to focus on our growth as people, especially in an ever-changing world. 

I asked Thomas where he would go if Texas opened back up for a day, and he said he would go see a baseball game with his family because they live very close to the stadium. If New York opened up for just a day, Thomas said he would go to Washington Square park to see his close community at the NYU Catholic Center. But first, he would go back to King’s! He says he would want to thank the people who have influenced his years there and to finalize his sending off from college. 

Which professors, faculty, or staff have influenced your stay at King’s? Leave a comment below!

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Stories

Ch. 13: Leadership in Quarantine

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.  

Miles Sinagra, a sophomore PPE major, is finishing his classes at home in Louisiana. Before coming home, he lived in campus housing in Brooklyn, but he is currently staying with his parents and younger sister. They live on a dairy farm and have been working together to repaint their barn, which has turned into a fun family project! When Miles went home for spring break, he took his textbooks and two full suitcases with him — he had a feeling things in the city would get more serious. 

Miles shares that transitioning to online classes feels like taking a trip to the past because he was homeschooled through high school. While he remembers how to do school from home, he’s found it hard to be motivated without his friends around to bounce ideas off of. Pursuing excellence, he says, is harder when you have to do it alone. That’s one valuable aspect of King’s community that Miles does not take for granted. 

Succession in leadership is another part of King’s community that looks different because of campus closure. This year, Miles served as Helmsman for the house of Winston Churchill, and he was elected as President for next year. Like many other houses, Churchill held their elections on Zoom. Thankfully, voter turnout did not drop and Churchills all across the country tuned in to participate. Miles regrets that they were not able to have their traditional inauguration, which includes inviting alum and renting a church uptown. Likewise, taking part in the Council’s traditional “Coup” over Zoom, where next year’s council members were sworn in, had an air of bittersweet to it because they could not be together in person. 

While transitioning in leadership roles has been unusual for Miles, he is excited about the future. The King’s community is resilient and continues to build each other up as best they can. Students may not be able to support each other in person, but that only means they’ll celebrate a little louder when they are united again. 

What part of King’s community are you looking forward to seeing again? Leave a comment below!

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Stories

Ch. 10: How To Make the Most of College in Quarantine

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 Deborah Gonçalves, a Junior majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Deborah serves as Scholar for the House of Susan B. Anthony and representative for Student Services. Before King’s transitioned to online classes, Deborah lived in on-campus housing in the Fidi. Currently, she is at home in Tampa, Florida with her parents and three chickens! Her mom has “attended” a few lectures with Deborah, but the chickens have not shown much enthusiasm. 

Here is how Deborah is making the most of college in quarantine:

  1. Count Your Blessings – When asked about doing school online, Deborah said “I cannot emphasize this enough. We have the best professors.” Her professors expressed a desire to accommodate students and help with the transition. For instance, Dr. Brand was lenient about paper source requirements from the NYPL, and Dr. Johnson took extra time to scan some readings into Schoology for his classes. Another blessing Deborah mentioned is the abundant Florida sunshine that has been improving her mood!
  1. Lean Into the Systems That Are Still in Place – Deborah has been translating her usual on-campus activities to her new work space: a desk in the middle of her living room. Being at a desk helps her get into the routine of being in school. She also makes sure to take notes in class, even on a Zoom call. This helps her stay focused and not “zoom” out. At the time of the interview, she was still working diligently with her House Interregnum team, only from a hammock instead of a classroom. 
  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Adjustments – Deborah mentioned that getting back into a working mindset was difficult because she was in the same place where she relaxed over Spring Break. One way she combats that is to do homework over Facetime with a friend. Each has their own music playing, but seeing each other work motivates both to concentrate. Another change is that, while she used to work her campus job after classes, she now does her work before class. She still spends a typical day at her desk taking care of school and work, just in a different order. 

Deborah has been intentional about channeling her “Florida Deb” side and her “New York Deb” side to work together. This balance has helped her count her blessings, lean into the systems she still has, and make some adjustments! What adjustments have you made with your #collegeinquarantine?