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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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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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Senior Spotlights

Message from a Senior Graduating Amidst COVID-19

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 post features Senior Sydney Watson, a soon-to-be graduate of King’s. Sydney is a Media, Culture, and the Arts major in the house of Clara Barton. She had planned to visit a cousin in Southern California over Easter, and ended up coming over Spring Break instead. Because the shelter-in-place order started a few days later, Sydney stayed with her cousin to finish the semester. She is currently in the LA area, so she is considering setting up shop in LA after quarantine to work. 

Routine to Mindset

Sydney shares that she associates mindset with place very strongly, so she needed a strong routine to get her mind into school mode. She begins her day by making the bed, opening the drapes, and looking at the beautiful scenic mountains outside her window. Sydney’s extended family has four dogs (Samson, Delilah, Salt, and Pepper!), so she lets them out in the mornings as well. Other parts of her routine include watering the garden, going on hikes, doing some watercoloring, and exploring other creative outlets she did not have a chance to before. 

Staying in Touch

Another hobby Sydney has taken up is writing snail-mail letters to her friends. She is using quality cardstock and burning the edges to give it a rustic look! Though she misses her guitar in Brooklyn (and her guitars, ukulele, and keyboard back home in Michigan!) Sydney has been writing some poetry while she can’t make music. She keeps in touch with family in Michigan by facetiming her parents every day, and sending her brother the daily meme or song lyric. 

Wisdom from Grace

Sydney wishes she could tell her fellow seniors to take a deep breath! She shares that she is an intense planner, so she had to intentionally make herself inhale, exhale, and accept what she cannot control. Sydney also wished to tell other students that it’s okay to be upset, even if you haven’t been robbed of a graduation by the pandemic. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors all around are losing things as well, and it is okay to mourn those losses! The seniors don’t have it worse, she says. They just have it different. I could hear a wind chime sounding outside while Sydney shared this wisdom, which illustrated to me how Sydney finds peaceful moments amidst widespread uncertainty. 

I asked Sydney where she would go in the City when things settle down, and she said she would go to her favorite cafe on the Lower East Side, Granddaddy. The atmosphere is casual and cute, the drinks are great, the bagels are delicious, and they play full-length albums! Where would you go if New York City opened up tomorrow? Leave a comment below!

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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? 

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Stories

10 Ways Life Has Changed For An NYC Student During the Coronavirus 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 David Hancock, a Junior at King’s studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Here are ten ways his life has changed as a college student living in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. 

  1. My roommates are gone… – After King’s classes moved online, all of David’s roommates went back home for the rest of the semester. David stayed in their Brooklyn apartment because he did not want to risk endangering his grandparents or other family back home. 
  2. … but I have a new roommate!– With the others gone, David’s friend from the House of C.S.Lewis has moved in for the rest of the semester. The two pals are helping each other keep quarantine boredom away. 
  3. My legs feel like jelly – It has been hard to go from walking two miles a day during the commute to walking only around the apartment between rooms. 
  4. I have a new exercise routine – Because going outside in New York City is currently not recommended (and because of point #3), David has started an exercise routine indoors. 
  5. I learned that my couch is uncomfortable– After sitting on his couch upwards of 12 hours a day to do school, David has discovered that he is no longer a fan. He is half-considering commandeering his roommate’s desk for a few days.
  6. I’m becoming the quiet kid in class – Transitioning to Zoom has made the class environment different. David says that, in an online class, unmuting yourself on a call with twenty others seems like a big deal, especially if your comment is brief. 
  7. Videocalling professors makes me kind of self conscious – For David, seeing yourself in the call makes it feel like you are presenting yourself to professors in a more obvious way. While this has made some students more comfortable, it has been odd for others. 
  8. I have a new love for Facetime – Though he did not use Facetime much beforehand, David has grown to appreciate it as the only way to see his friends and family. The Discord app gets an honorable mention here as well! 
  9. I’m fighting a lack of motivation – The new learning environment has made it a struggle to get schoolwork done at home, or even to focus on personal hobbies like reading books. 
  10. I can’t wait to be in the same room as people – Social isolation is proving that distance really does make the heart grow fonder. But distance is not forever, and we will see our friends in person sooner than we think. 

Do any of these apply to you too? How are you adjusting to new roommates or routines? Leave a comment below!

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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!