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Senior Spotlights Stories

Ch. 15: A Family 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 feature is soon-to-be graduate Rebekah Lambdin, a Humanities major in the house of Sojourner Truth. Rebekah spent spring break at a beach house with her family in California, and stayed with them to finish her semester when King’s went online. After graduation, Rebekah plans to stick around and work some organizational jobs over the summer before moving to LA in the fall. She has been a key part of events planning at King’s, so she is equipped for a successful career in Events sometime in the future. 

Rebekah was homeschooled before college, so going back to doing homework with her younger siblings has been a sweet experience, even when their casual playing around sounds like a raging battlefield. Rebekah has been spending her extra time helping out with her big family (she has two sisters in college and three foster siblings in school, and they’re all at home with her!). She gets to see her boyfriend more often too– check out the puppy Rebekah got him this week!

If Rebekah could say anything to her fellow seniors, she would tell them to recognize the bond that they have. Sharing a loss of such magnitude is unique. “We’ll be the class of 2020,” she says, “and people will know what that means.” She encourages everyone, grad and non-grad, to make the most of the moments they have going forward. When places open back up, and there is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, DO IT! 

When I asked Rebekah where she would go when New York City opens back up, she said she would go to Times Square. She says that this great example of the city’s diverse melting pot of cultures really encompasses all of the reasons she loves NYC. I asked Rebekah where she would go if California opened back up too. Can you guess how she responded? 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. 12: Coupled in Quarantine

Four hours behind NYC time, in Juneau, Alaska, Shannon Mason and her boyfriend Daniel Phelps are finishing the semester with Shannon’s family. They have been doing classes online, often battling spotty wifi when their classes meet at the same time. Shannon, a JCS major in the house of Susan B. Anthony, came home from her apartment when King’s switched to online classes. Daniel, a PPE major in the house of Reagan, came to Juneau two weeks later, leaving his apartment in Brooklyn as well.

Shannon shares that the nice thing about being in Juneau is having her siblings and their families nearby. In order to stick to a New York schedule for work, her day begins at 5am and her routine is similar to what it was in the city. Shannon has continued her internship with Rolling Stone remotely, but a future internship opportunity with NBC was cancelled because of the quarantine closure. 

Daniel is currently working construction with Shannon’s family while he is on furlough at J. Crew in NYC. His internship at O’Douds Apothecary in Brooklyn is also on hold while the city stays closed. He stays busy on the construction site, keeping up with family over facetime, and doing homework for classes. Daniel shares that he is grateful for the opportunity to be thoughtful and intentional about his routines.

While the NYC hustle used to keep them from seeing each other often, Shannon and Daniel are grateful that they can now see each other every day! In their spare time, the pair have been working together on photography projects (check out some of their cool shots on Instagram!). They’ve also been catching up on TV shows like Community and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and have watched all 3 Back to the Future films.

Both are passionate about supporting small business during this time of economic tension. For Daniel, this looks like stocking up on quality hair/skincare products from O’Douds Apothecary. Shannon is intentional about getting her coffee from Kos Kaffe in Brooklyn. Check out their products in the picture above!

Which small businesses are you passionate about? Leave a comment below! 

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Stories

Ch. 11: Birthday 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 follows freshman Brianna Jacobs, a Journalism, Culture, and Society major in the house of Margaret Thatcher. Before King’s went online, Brianna lived in campus housing in Brooklyn. Like many of her peers, she went home for Spring Break and ended up staying with her family for the rest of the semester. She is currently with her parents and younger sister in Orlando, Florida. 

Brianna is thankful that she got to spend Easter with her family this year! She shared that her family has a tradition of watching the Ten Commandments movie every Easter. She was going to miss it because of staying on campus, but going home gave her the opportunity to continue the tradition. 

In her spare time, Brianna has been watching shows like Gossip Girl and The Good Place, doing a bit of painting, and gaining a steady Tiktok following (what started out as a joke for fun has turned into a hobby with a 5k following!). 

One thing Brianna misses after the campus closure is her work on the events committee this year. They had put in a lot of planning for spring formal and will not get to see the magical evening everyone anticipated! It was also very different to celebrate her birthday without her friends. Brianna shares that it’s important to grieve the things that were lost, but not to dwell on them. Rather, her positive attitude shined through her words, even when she remembered her losses! She is hoping to publish a piece about her other friends who celebrated birthdays in quarantine as well. 

Know someone whose birthday has recently passed? Share this post with them for some quarantine birthday support!

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Letter From the Editor

Ch. 8: Letter From the Editor

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. 

As the creator of this little project, I have been inspired and encouraged by the stories of my classmates! I am currently with family in Pennsylvania, and I miss New York City as much as my fellow Kingsians do. Hearing them talk about their new hobbies or the silver linings in their predicaments has been a joy to me. Throughout the interviews, some have shared great ideas for keeping in routine or staying in touch with friends. I have taken these recommendations to heart and found that they make quite a bit of difference. 

For example, one friend shared that she goes on drives in the mornings to keep herself in routine and to get mentally prepared for the day. I tried this out one day, and it made me feel like I was commuting to work! Here’s a clip of my “commute” home:

Another friend shared that the secret to keeping up with friends was to write “snail mail” letters as opposed to sending texts or emails. This resonated with me because I had received some letters that made me feel missed and treasured. The other night I decided to write my friends back and reciprocate the love. Here is a glimpse of the process:

What other tricks have helped you escape the quarantine blues? Share a tip below!

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Stories

Ch. 7: Spring Break Visit Turned 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 Dominique, a sophomore at King’s. RTS major Dominique LaCroix is Spiritual Life Associate for the House of Clara Barton. Before the semester went online, she lived in on-campus housing in the FiDi. Dominique planned to spend Spring Break with her roommate Lydia’s family in New Jersey. However, once King’s went online she ended up staying there rather than coming back to the City. Dominique is planning to stay with Lydia’s family for the rest of the semester, which she says is “kind of like being at my house.” Because she has visited for Thanksgiving and formed friendships with Lydia’s family members, she feels at home there. During the interview, Lydia’s mom had just made fresh chocolate chip cookies for everyone at home.

Dominique is getting accustomed to doing school in her temporary home at Lydia’s. Often they will do school together because they share a lot of classes. To stay in routine, Dominique still tries to get up early every day. Her key to staying disciplined is to have something to look forward to in the morning: she and Lydia usually do devotions together over coffee. In their spare time, they go on walks outside and bake recipes that they discover on Pinterest.

Being out of the city has forced Dominique to slow down, which has been really helpful for her spiritual routines because it has given her more time to read the Bible and pray. She stays in touch with her family over Facetime and connects with her friends with handwritten letters. She expressed gratitude for having received so many letters from people. She thinks that “snail mail” letters are a key part of finding balance in a world that has now begun to stare at screens all day. Staying in touch with her community has been a blessing during this time.

Where did you send your last “snail mail” letter? Are you writing letters more often while you stay at home?

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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. 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.