Reflection on the Year

Reflection on the Year

November 2, 2020 Uncategorized 47

This year has seen immense challenges including the pandemic, racial violence, and more. How have these events impacted you, campus, and the broader community? Are you able to reflect on the news each day, and if so how? How have you taken time to care for yourself and find gratitude/positivity amongst the challenges?

47 Responses

  1. Maura Lynch says:

    This semester, self care has proven to be SO necessary for me. My mental health was never something I struggled with until this semester, partially due to 2020 and partially due to my increase in pressure within my workload. Constantly trying to stay on top of my different commitments and assignments began to wear me out and I found myself having to remind myself that my grades do not define me, even though I partially still don’t believe that.
    In order to fix this within myself, I began to rely more on my friends and family when I needed to, instead of trying to carry all this weight by myself. While I’m still not quite there, I think this break will be beneficial to regather my thoughts and come back next semester ready to kick booty!

  2. Sydney Maughan says:

    This years challenges have affected me mentally, physically, and emotionally. The challenges have also affected our campus and community negatively because it’s made our work much harder to do. For the most part this semester, Bonners have not been able to be fully engaged with our community and support it the way we have in previous years. I don’t watch the news everyday simply because it gets a bit hard to handle after so long due to all of the depressing information being shared. I have taken time for myself amongst these challenges by trying to focus on the small and simple things I enjoy doing, such as art and brain games/puzzles. Also by spending time with my family and talking often to my family and friends I don’t have the fortune of seeing often has helped keep my spirits up throughout this bleak year.

  3. Lulama Nyembe says:

    We have all been affected by the pandemic. Our very campus has transformed dramatically not just in how classes are held, but even how we interact with one another. “Saints hold doors,” this was an unstated mantra of Siena College. It is a seemingly small gesture holding a door for someone else, but I think it best demonstrated the social climate on campus. I have not seen much of that happen this semester and that has taken some getting used to. I am able to reflect on the news every so often. I take time to go through various news articles from different sources to ensure that I have an unbiased understanding of the world around me. By going over it every so often, I am able to glean an understanding without getting into my head about things too much. By spending time with friends when possible and looking at what has been beneficial about living in this remote society. With Thanksgiving being around the corner, it has also given me a chance to find things that I am grateful for.

  4. Nancy Rasmussen says:

    This year has been extremely challenging, to say the least. 2020 started off as an exciting year with many hopes and dreams for the future, and it quickly turned into something I never thought possible. This pandemic has affected millions of people in multiple ways. Many people sadly lost their lives, their loved ones, or had to experience the fear of both of these. It truly was, and still is, very frightening. Although quarantine was extremely hard and isolating, in a strange way, it made me feel more connected to myself. I grew and matured as a person and really started to process how precious life is. In addition to the hardships of COVID-19, racial violence was, and still is, very prevalent. It was extremely heartbreaking watching the news everyday. I think the Siena community and the global community have been deeply affected by the racial violence because it seems like more people are speaking out and acting against this violence. Finally, I try to practice self-care by taking breaks and hanging out with my friends as much as possible.

  5. This year has seen immense challenges including the pandemic, racial violence, and more. How have these events impacted you, campus, and the broader community? Are you able to reflect on the news each day, and if so how? How have you taken time to care for yourself and find gratitude/positivity amongst the challenges?
    This year has definitely been a year filled with events that I would have never expected I’d ever experience. We can all say that we lived through a pandemic, a summer filled with protests for justice to be served to the black community, a time of isolation, and confusion. Despite my classes being a bit more relaxed this semester, I found myself struggling to find the motivation to complete assignments and study. I think, though, by persevering through the semester with no breaks, I have grown a bit because I have never experienced anything like this semester. I also consider myself to be someone who reads the news quite often, and a lot of times this year, I had to take a break. However, I knew that I had to stay informed because even though the racial violence wasn’t directed towards me, didn’t mean I should ignore it. It was difficult at times to direct my time to self-care because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. In my head, I told myself that classes were easier and I shouldn’t need a break which, seeing now, made circumstances a bit worse. Overall, I have definitely learned a lot this year and have grown a bit. Despite the circumstances of this year being far from ideal, I think it allowed everyone to reflect on their lives and especially the temorality of life.

  6. Julia says:

    2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, filled with really incredible memories and challenges that have been physically and emotionally draining. At the start of the year, I spent two months traveling around Spain, eating tapas, and making friends from all over the world (I figured I would include some good memories of 2020)! Abroad really opened my eyes to all the possibilities out there (makes post-grad seem more exciting than scary).
    While 2020 started off on a really good note, it quickly turned into a difficult year for me and the global community. Covid-19 has devastated many families and communities. People have lost loved ones and jobs causing hardship and trauma. Personally, I was very concerned for my sister who is a healthcare worker (very proud of her and all of the healthcare workers who are still risking their lives to help the community).
    In addition, the racial violence has been upsetting, infuriating, and incomprehensible. While we learn about injustices and racism in Bonner witnessing such violence in our community is still shocking and upsetting to me. DoTheWork has provided me with new ways to think about and act on racial issues. I think the Siena community and the global community have also felt the racial violence on a new level- it seems like more people are speaking out and acting against this horrifying violence.
    Honestly, I stopped watching the news because it became too overwhelming. But I do stay up to date via social media on important issues.
    Finally, I find it very hard to take care of myself these days. I feel like there is little time to catch my breath and process everything going on. Overall, I am disappointed in Siena. I think this semester was rushed (no breaks?!) with the mindset of start early, power through, and leave early regardless of the consequences (student’s wellbeing). I do not believe the mental health of students was given sufficient consideration especially during such a difficult year (threat of Covid-19, racial violence, transition to online learning, limited contact with friends, financial struggles, etc.). There is so much going on right now and it seems like there is little support. Overall, I think we can all do a better job of looking out for each other.

  7. Kate Callery says:

    This year has been a growth process for me. Sometimes I joke that my 2020 started in August of 2019. There is a passage from Corinthians that I am reminded of “He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear.” Though I have many opinions about this passage and what it means in a greater context, it personally gives me solace to think that the struggles come to test us but not destroy us. With that being said, I have found this semester to be tough! I am someone who is very grounded in personal connection. With service and school work, I am often motivated and inspired by connecting people – which obviously has been lost. Additionally, a no-break semester isn’t very conducive to being healthy and happy. This semester has left me drained and looking forward to our three-month break. While my past few sentences have been a bit of a venting session, I don’t find this semester to be all negatives. I have been really blessed with the friendships that have deepened and the support I find in some really special people. Like I said at the beginning there has been a lot of growth, a year ago I was in a very low place. It has been a slow process and it still continues, but I have changed so much from that place I was in. Trying to stay grounded I always turn to relationships – whether it is my parents, my boyfriend, or my friends I feel a kinship that makes me feel better when I am getting overwhelmed.

  8. Tori Mangelli says:

    This year has definitely been challenging for the world and for most people’s personal lives as well. The pandemic has completely changed the way we live and as a result, there is a new normal for every aspect of life. In quarantine, I remember watching the news every day and everything was just so devastating that, at times, I would honestly just turn it off and try to think of something more positive. Campus and the community have also been deeply affected by the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement to the point where we are living in a new normal as I said before. To practice self-care during this time, I’ll hang out with my roommates and have a movie night and do face masks. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I will also write a gratitude list and list everything I am grateful for to remind myself of the good.

    • Kate Callery says:

      Love you! Keep on doing whatever makes you smile 🙂

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      LOVE the idea of a gratitude list. I do something similar with a “good stuff” jar and write down a good thing that happens everyday.

  9. Kayla says:

    The year 2020 has been filled with many unpredictable events that include wildfires across the world, protests about racial injustice and violence, and a global pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives. From these events, the world on a global level will never be the same along with my personal life as well. The global pandemic has changed what used to be normal and it will never be the same. The new normal is wearing masks, limiting physical interactions with people, and implementing any virtual options into people’s lives. The pandemic has affected my life in a way that I could have never imagined. For instance, college and school are different because there are virtual classes and limited in-person activities. This makes it hard to make connections and formulate relationships. Even though it’s a difficult time, this pandemic has shown that time can not be wasted and that accommodations can be made even in the worse circumstances. Even though the pandemic requires social distance protocols, people have not stopped to engage in civic duties. For example, the election of 2020 was a difficult time for voting because some people did not have the opportunity to go out and vote in-person. People did not let this obstacle discourage them from their civic duty to vote and so they voted with mail ballots. This made a huge difference because it was pivotal for some states and was a chance for people to have their vote counted even during a global pandemic. People also participated in their right to protest against the racial injustices and violence against African Americans. Even during a global pandemic, millions of people marched and protested to demand change. I am able to reflect on the news weekly so that I am aware of situations. I found that this is a better way for me to know what is going on in the world without stressing me out too much because I can still be conscious of the state of the nation and world as well as keeping my well-being intact. I have taken the time to care for myself each day by allowing myself an hour of free time so that I can regenerate when I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

  10. Kiara Woodward says:

    This year has been challenging and I have found the best way to cope is taking everything one day at a time. The pandemic that we are all living in has not been a cup of tea but I have found it important for me to look from the lens of gratitude. I am fortunate to not have been negatively impacted by covid-19 personally or in my family. I know that many families have experienced pain and loss. I am willing to give up some comforts and my “normal” to make sure I am doing my part to protect myself, family, and community. Campus definitely looks different this year and it is not ideal but I remember going on break and never coming back so I am thankful for the opportunity to spend any amount of time I can on campus for my senior year. The broader community is suffering as a result of the pandemic.

    The high profile instances of racial violence that took place this year were tragic. It is always heartbreaking to see what gruesome events must take place to push people to look at a broken system. When I heard the news about Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd I was saddened but not surprised. I think this reaction speaks to the desensitization that occurs when a person of color is killed in this country. These events could not be ignored even as we came back onto campus. It was clear Siena was attempting to uncover areas in which systemic racism has taken root in our institution. The effort is definitely there but as someone who is not a part of these larger conversations it is hard to see any real change taking shape. The broader community banded together in protest of these events and that unity brought a lot of attention to the issue which is very important. It does feel like that momentum as run its course and lost some steam. I think it is easy to forget about these incidents of racial violence when a crazy election is taking place and videos of unarmed people of color getting murdered aren’t surfacing or aren’t publicized.

    I have not chosen to watch the news throughout all of these events. I think I am intentional with the content I am taking in. I made a conscious decision throughout the election not to watch the news because I knew no matter how much I watched it wouldn’t change the outcome. There is definitely the downside of me being less informed. I need to find balance regarding this that works for me.

    • Kate Callery says:

      I appreciate what you said about these gruesome events force us to respond but too quickly does the news cycle return, and the events are replaced with a focus on the election or something. It is so important to remember to continue pushing for change.

  11. Jackson Regan says:

    In terms of my personal life, 2020 wasn’t the best year, but it wasn’t the worse year either. When I look at our world, or our country however, I see lots of good, but far more bad. Right now everyone is focused on the pandemic, and to a slightly lesser degree, racial strife. 2020 didn’t create the problem of racial justice, rather it brought the discrepancies front and center. So many of my conversations here in college were about not school, but COVID, and politics, as it was also an election year. I reflect on he state of our world a lot, and I pray that this pandemic comes to an end, ideally in the spring so that we may begin healing from its effects. But in my opinion, an end to the pandemic won’t bring about healing unless we work to end divisiveness, both in terms of race and in terms of politics. We are more divided than ever, and it showed when our government failed to do everything it possibly could to protect us and help those in need, especially the poor, and many people of color. Our leaders argued and bickered over petty partisan politics while people suffered and died. We need to end polarization if we’re ever going to find legitimate solutions to the problems we face, including racial justice.

  12. Giavanna Pitagno says:

    This year has brought about numerous challenges- physically, emotionally, and morally. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged communities through the immense changes in lifestyle. In addition, the overwhelming appearance racial violence has challenged us to step out of our comfort zones and fight for sustainable change. Personally, I have been lucky to have been impacted minimally from Covid- while losing my job and the end of senior year was upsetting, it is nothing compared to the lives of loved ones. I have also been privileged enough to have not been victim to racial violence. Although I have not directly been impacted, the pandemic and racial violence has still led to changes in my life- personally, on campus, and in my community.

    Personally, 2020 has given me a new perspective and a greater appreciation for the things around me. In addition to this, it has been a source of motivation for me. Never before had I been directly exposed to blatant injustices. On campus, covid has changed and challenged the way we learn, and serve. Online classes and service has challenged me to become more independent and accountable of my own actions. It also allowed me to understand the importance “behind the scenes” work. Seeing the effects of your service first hand does not minimize the work being done. In the broader community, Covid as well as the racial violence seen has led to a sense of unity and compassion for one another. We see this through the simplicities of wearing masks to protect one another, and more outwardly through communities coming together to protest in reverence to victims of racial violence and to fight for change.

    I feel like quarantine and just generally being at home/ on campus more has allowed me to reflect on everything that has happened in 2020. It has also allowed me to slow down, take time for myself, and focus on the things that are important to me. That being said, I am excited and ready for the new year and for what is to come in 2021.

  13. Erin Spence says:

    This year has definitely been a challenge in more ways than one. With the rise in COVID cases starting in March, life changed drastically and we were forced to adapt to a new way of life. It was disappointing to have to miss out on the second half of our Spring semester last year, and by no means has campus life been normal this semester either. It is interesting to think about how quickly our “normal” changed and we adapted to the threat of this deadly pandemic. I had the privilege of returning home after the school closed last year. I was able to continue my education from the comfort of my own room and I did not have to risk my life to go to work to support my family. Many essential workers across the country did not have this luxury, risking their lives every day to support themselves and their families. This example of inequality also largely impacted people of color. The pandemic itself brought to light many of the racial injustices that have existed in this country since its beginning. Not only did these injustices become more apparent, but also the horrific experiences of people of color dying at the hands of the police. With the rising of the BLM movement, along with the injustice that the pandemic has uncovered, I have made a commitment to educating myself, becoming an ally, and fighting for racial justice. I recognize that I have privilege in this world. I do not personally experience these injustices, but I am committed to fighting in this anti-racist movement. As a part of my commitment to educating myself, I try to watch the news as much as I can. It is definitely a challenge for me to make time to do this during my school days, but I am also able to use social media to keep up with the important topics and events of the week. A part of my self-care is to not become too consumed by the various media sources that are flooding our daily lives. This can be difficult, but I try to take as much time for myself as I can, while still balancing my other responsibilities. There is so much suffering in the world, and it is becoming even more apparent as the year progresses. It has been challenging for me to see the positives in our current circumstance, but I am grateful that to be able to spend time with my family and take some time to prioritize self-care over the long winter break. My hope is that we can return to campus in the Spring with more positivity and willingness to cooperate and keep each other safe, as well as continuing to fight for racial justice.

  14. Ecli Vazquez says:

    2020 has been a hell of a year. At the start of that, no one thought any of this would happen from fires in Australia to the nonstop earthquakes in Puerto Rico. Within the United States, the justice system became tested and I’m glad it did because it should that it needs some work. Overall, 2020 has been a roller coaster that seems to have no end. Life during a pandemic has been interesting and the cases are starting to rise again so I fear that another lockdown will happen. Other than that I’m sure once everything will back to being positive than it ever was before.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      A roller coaster is definitely a great description… lots of ups and downs. A wild ride.

  15. Jonathan Limey says:

    Overall, this year has been so crazy “2020” itself has become a phrase used to describe moments of severe stress and issue. The year has been full of issues with the pandemic, racism, and so much more. Personally, the pandemic hit me hard because my family is at high risk. We were forced to spend the entire quartine at home, and being super careful about everything including packages. This lead to a long and grueling period of time where I felt very lonely and frustrated. These feelings were only nationally emphasized with the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. I have friends who were very active in these protests. One, in particular, taught me a lot about what her experiences were like as a Filipino, how that pandemic is being treated as xenophobic, and how I could be an ally. That is the biggest positive change I have experienced in the pandemic as a whole. When I learned more my eyes were opened to the struggles that my friends were going through. These were lessons I took into college, but the stress from the pandemic came as well. Due to this, I never spent much time looking at the news or reflecting on it. I heard enough about the hardships of the world from my friends and family. This was a step I took for my own mental health because I was aware I couldn’t handle anything else. Throughout the semester I haven’t really been doing much for self-care outside of my normal routine. This I realize could be the source of my issues. I did begin starting to go to Campus Ministry which has helped me spiritually deal with the world’s issues. I just pray we have survived the worst of it.

  16. Jack McKenna says:

    It’s obvious to everyone that this year has been, quite literally, life changing. From me spending much of my summer in quarantine, having to quit my job, finish school online and figure that out halfway through a semester. But I was fortunate to not fear for my life or for my health, but not everyone was this fortunate. In the community small businesses were closing and people were losing their jobs and getting evicted. All before the largest BLM movements since it began in 2012. It was also a time of the community coming together, at least in Troy, for protests and marches, for fundraisers and events to support local businesses. There was a small silver lining within all of this tragedy and heartache, people found themselves at home and in the community more. Giving them the chance to be introspective and reflect on the last four years, look up from their daily routine and experience their community. I don’t pay much attention to the news, I just follow trusted social justice accounts on Instagram, which I find to be much easier to digest, handle, and not get weighed down by. During quarantine at first I struggled, but eventually I started going for bike rides, learning to bake, and painting to keep my mind active. As for everything with the police this summer, I still don’t know how to come to terms with each new story. Protesting and seeing videos of protesters helps because I see that people are as angry as I am. But I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that this is still an issue. But on the bright side we seem to be headed in the right direction,

  17. Alexis D'Aloia says:

    The events of this year have taken me for a wild ride, as they have for most people. The pandemic has posed many challenges from not being able to see my grandmother much to the little things like not being able to drive onto campus from various entrances. It’s definitely the little things that get me– all the little things that won’t be “normal” for my final year at Siena. Additionally, the issues of racial violence although not directly impacting me have caused tension between my family members. Things got political very quickly and it was a challenge to navigate the difficult conversations regarding the serious issues that our community is facing. I really did not watch the news much until the election began, and it has allowed me to really understand more about what is going on in society and has helped to keep me up to date on current events. During this time, I have been able to care for myself by reaching out to friends that I know I can trust to have very open and honest conversations with. They have provided me with great support through all that 2020 has thrown at us!

  18. Dana Wakeman says:

    2020 has been a difficult time for so many people. I feel incredibly fortunate to have not been personally impacted too much as my family and I have stayed healthy and been able to keep working. However, it has been difficult to manage the emotional toll of the pandemic, racial justice, and other social justice issues while also working to stay engaged in school which has made this semester especially challenging. I have found it necessary to take extra time to practice self-care by spending time with friends, getting enough sleep, and taking time away from the news when needed. I also find it necessary to reach out to my resources on campus whether that be at the ACE office with DK or Sarah, the other PAs, or my fellow Bonners, or with my RD or professors in order to ask for help when needed.

  19. Nora Diede says:

    I think that 2020 has been an opportunity for us to open our eyes to the ills in our society. The challenge of the pandemic has shown us that we were not prepared for a major health crisis, and the pandemic itself has exposed the discrepancies within our world. People lost their loved ones, incomes, homes and so much more because of this pandemic, and therefore our broader community is being forced to understand that our society is cruel and discriminatory. This directly relates with the Black Lives Matter movement that became very visible over the summer due to racial violence. This is because the pandemic showed that people of color are disproportionately impacted by the negative aspects of a global health crisis, including losing a job and falling ill. The Black Lives Matter movement has begun to impact our community by showing these inequalities and extreme police brutality, and allowing us to make changes. The pandemic has impacted myself, as this past year I have stayed in my home from March until August, and started college in a strange fashion. Obviously, campus is very different due to the pandemic and while I have never been on campus while it was “normal”, I understand that the pandemic has greatly shifted the energy of this environment. This is made clear everytime an upperclassman speaks of their past experiences.
    Each day I do look at the news. This stems less from a desire to do so, rather from a need to know how the world is progressing. I reflect on the news knowing that there is light in this world. At first I think of friends and family, and understand that I have a good life and positive experiences. Then I reflect on the world around me, and understand that while the news is often extremely negative there are small glimpses of hope and happiness happening all around me. This is a great way for me to find gratitude in my life and practice self care. This is because I have become more thankful for the small aspects of good in the world. I also practice self care by surrounding myself with positive people and those that make me happy. I find that this makes every day much easier and lighter. While 2020 has been a disastrous year, It has allowed me to grow into someone who is a lot more grateful and reflective, and for that I am immensely happy.

  20. Mara Golden says:

    This year has been the hardest one yet. I had this idea in my mind fr years that online school was easy and I could not have been more wrong. It takes a lot of self-accountability to get all of the work done and not get distracted by things at home. Although this fall semester was easier to deal with than last spring, it is still not how I want my college experience to be but we can only do our best with what we have. I miss not being on campus with my friends and be able to use the library whenever I need a quiet place to work. I also miss n on being at Unity House and with all of the great staff. One good thing that has come from the pandemic is our Virtual Tutoring Program at Unity House. This program has challenged me greatly to grow as a person and in my different work ethics. Not having the ability to be in the office with everyone has taught me how important keeping lines of communication open is. This applies to family and friend relationships too. Since we don’t have any breaks this semester, I don’t get the chance to take a train out to see my friends. So I have learned to participate in a more safe way to see my friends like FaceTiming weekly.

    It sounds a little backward but, after I came down with Covid I realized I needed to take better care of myself. On top of doing service and school full time, I also took on a second job. I realized that I never really gave myself time during the week to just take a deep breath, I was always going. The great thing about having my other job is being able to get out of my house a couple of days a week and away from everything going on in the news. This past year has brought so much negativity to the news but they are also things we need to recognize are happening. From the Black Lives Matter movement to the Presidential Election, it opened up our country’s eyes to what is going on and what needs to be changed.

    • Mara,
      I definitely agree with your statement ” I had this idea in my mind fr years that online school was easy and I could not have been more wrong”. I think that because we have had less social i interaction with one another in person and because we have had to adjust to a whole different style of learning, that took a toll on us mentally. Through all this though, we have persevered through a pandemic while balancing our other requirements.

  21. Samantha Lunt says:

    2020 has been a year unlike any other. In the beginning it was hard to understand everything that was going on and to even wrap my mind around it. At the beginning of the pandemic my family was going through the emotions of having a family member pass away. So with that on top of everything else going on in the world it was a very difficult time. However, over these past months these difficult times have brought my family together. Starting this semester I knew it would be difficult adjusting but that being back at school was going to be helpful. A lot of changes have taken place this year for everyone and I think it has allowed for more growth and reflection during these times. In the beginning I would watch the news almost every night with my family, but since being back at school I have definitely been in the Siena bubble and am not following the news as much. During these crazy times it has definitely been important to find time for self care, some things that I have done is just calling my family a lot during the week and connecting with them as well as trying to set aside time at night to just be by myself and listen to music and reflect on everything going on. Even though this year has been anything but normal, I am grateful for the lessons I have been able to learn and the growth that it has brought.

    • Kate Callery says:

      Family is so important right now – so glad you are staying connected! Hope you know your Bonner Family is here for you too!

  22. Parker Taft says:

    We certainly live in interesting times. Having had my senior year of high school with all of its highlights and lasting memories being ripped so unceremoniously out from under me and my fellow classmate’s feet because of the pandemic. Questions over the course and sustainability of our national and global community as the result of racial violence, climate change, political violence, the effects of technology and large corporations, the battle between truth and “fake” news has left me questioning where we go from here and whether or not we can overcome these seemingly insurmountable challenges. But I think this unprecedented time has also given us time to pause and reflect on the progress we have made and how much we still have to do. Our current circumstances have highlighted at least to me that we are part of a large interconnected community with each part dependent on the others in order for all of it to work together. They have certainly taught me to be more flexible and open to changes, as well as given me a greater resiliency. For if we can survive this year, we are prepared to survive almost anything life has to throw at us. And despite all of the uncertainty and vitriol being thrown around, I have been given cause for hope, a hope that our future can be better than our present reality. People in an unprecedented display of solidarity chose to shut down stay home wear a mask to protect their neighbors, friends, and family, along with the most vulnerable members of the community. We got together on social media to lift up each other spirits and keep in contact. We sought to renew old connections while building new ones. We saw the problems and injustices of our society and tried to remedy them whether that was taking to the streets or voting with our dollars or actually voting. We banded together as a community to overcome this great adversity and ensure that something positive came out of our experience. Like always there will be outliers, those who are selfish and greedy, arrogant, and foolish who will no doubt grab headlines and makes us think that we are unable to learn our lessons and that we are really going to hell in a hand basket. But I am left with hope still because the silent majority heard the call to arms and marched off to fight for a better future.

    During the Pandemic and the resulting chaos that ensued, I once again began to journal, in order to record my thoughts on the day’s events in the news and at home, and try to make some sense of it. Somedays I was successful and other times I was left more confused than before. But through this process, I was able to work through the thought problems and come to terms with what was happening. With the added bonus of leaving behind a historical record for my children and my children’s children about my experiences during this unprecedented time.

    I have also started practicing mindfulness and meditation to help balance and ground myself in these uncertain times. As well as practicing gratitude for the privileges and gifts I have been given. I realized that although I was facing many challenges so to were other members of my family, community, and the world. Many of which were far more acute and disastrous than my own. This sense of solidarity helped lift my spirits and redirect my energies from self-pity to one of direct action to try and help those around me get through this crisis and overcome the challenges we faced. But I also took the time to practice self-care such as reflecting on my journal and meditation but also taking time to read a favorite book or get out of the house and go for a walk or even just watching a movie with my family.

    I feel as this year draws to a close that although we have faced a lot of challenges this year, we have also overcome a lot of challenges and through continued hard work and diligence the progress we have started on many systemic problems as a result of this crisis will continue through into next the next year. I think it will also result in a more mindful and caring populace. I have hope for the future because if we are alive, we have already survived 100% of our hardest days.

    • Erin Spence says:

      I love how much hope you bring in this response! There are so many challenges facing our world right now and we could all use a little bit more positivity. I also loved reading about all the ways you have been practicing self-care. Journaling is such a great way to reflect on your day to day experiences. I have also been trying my best to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my daily routine. These are definitely times of great stress and anxiety, but it is so important to be in touch with our own thoughts and feelings.

  23. Chandler Edbauer says:

    I feel like these immense challenges have pushed me to become more flexible. I do feel like there are a lot more obstacles to go through to get to everyday success, but I find myself there. I get my work done, I feel happy, and I continue to work for others. I think campus has gotten a bit tense in the pandemic, but that is expected as people are frustrated and lonely. I think that we would all feel better if everyone was just civil to one another. I think even before the pandemic and other events people are generally mean or rude. I find people not holding doors or not saying hello because they are buried in their phones. I think a lot of people have a very selfish attitude and I find it difficult to observe people who make other peoples days better. I find people who have a good day because they are selfish, they beat their game or cheated someone out of something or finally got the newest and coolest trend.

    I feel like people often take on a very selfish role throughout the normal day. I can see in the community that the people band together when they have a common enemy but when there is no one to hate, they hate each other. I think that people need to start caring not just because it is popular but caring because it is the right thing to do. I find myself watching news other people deem necessary, I read and watch what teachers want me to see. I do try to stay away from the news because i always feel like its a money grab. I keep myself happy by creating stronger bonds with others and going outside. Getting away from the screen world that so many people are in is necessary. I feel like more people would be happier if they stopped being so addicted to technology.

  24. Michael Averill says:

    When we look back at 2020 someday, I think we will recognize that this year has been a critical juncture in history. The pandemic has changed the realities of our everyday lives, as well as our perception of the world. In some way or another, everyone has experienced disappointment this year. Whether it was the cancellation of an important event celebrating a milestone like graduation, not getting to go on a trip you looked forward to, or being apart from those we love for long periods of time, the impacts of the pandemic have not been easy for anyone. In a way, we are linked by our shared disappointments and our shared struggles. Yet, we are also linked by the inherent goodness of humanity that we have seen come out of the global crisis. Neighbors have checked in on one another, strangers have made sure their communities are being fed, teachers have poured countless hours into making the new normal the best possible experience for students, and medical professionals have worked tirelessly to quite literally, save lives. Although the pandemic has been a burden we have all had to bear, I am confident that we will come out on the other side more united than ever before.

    2020 has also proved to be a year of reckoning for our country. The murder of George Floyd in late May caused an uproar against police brutality and state-sponsored injustices everywhere. As individuals, we could no longer remain complacent to the realities of the oppressive systems of our country. So, we read and we learned and we marched and we demanded justice. This fight will go on, and the 2020 elections will not be enough. Action occurs when citizens unite to demand it. We must work alongside those who have experienced injustice, elevating their calls for action. Sometimes, the constant news cycles and endless stream of social media posts becomes overwhelming. It is important to remember that we are not alone in the fight for justice. We are a part of a greater movement. Together we will move our country forward in a more positive direction.

    As I reflect on my own year, I recognize the way these events have impacted me personally. In 2020, I have been disappointed and frustrated and overwhelmed. However, I also recognize that the difficulties of the year have helped me strengthen my voice and become a better advocate for issues that matter. I am excited to attend the Washington Semester Program through American University in the spring semester. Although I will miss the Siena community for a little bit, I know that this is the right decision for me. Even in a world that feels stagnant, I feel like I am moving in the right direction. I am excited to see where it takes me.

  25. Abeer Jafri says:

    This year has probably been one of the hardest of my life, not only personally, but it has been difficult to witness so many injustices in the world around me and not be able to do much about it. Personally, it has been draining and hard to find motivation with all the negativity surrounding me, but I am grateful to learn to find joy in the little things to help get me through. I am glad that most of us could return to campus and at least find a little normality in that, although I’m sure it is still very isolating for us all. In the broader community, there have obviously been huge detriments, including large divisions among us. I hope we are able to get through this and solve system issues one day to be united again. Regarding the news, it is definitely challenging to hear worse and worse things happening every day, and rarely hearing anything positive. I think in these times it is important to seek out good news on our own, since major media doesn’t show it. It isn’t easy to take time for myself, especially when academic/work demands are the same if not more than when life was normal and not completely upside down. But I am working on finding more to be grateful and positive about, and I find comfort in the fact that we are all going through this together.

  26. Rachel Gifford says:

    The pandemic, racial violence, and the election have had huge effects on me. My father is an essential worker, and he works long hours everyday in order to help. This has taken a toll on my family and it’s difficult to see him work so hard with no end in sight.

    Today I got tested for the virus because I was randomly selected. I was scared going into it, but I’ve learned over the course of this year that I can’t control anything and what happens happens. On camp our cases have gotten better over time, but it definitely impacted my ability to make new friends, and it has impacted my education. Covid has made it harder for people to make connections and it has made our broader community more distanced.

    Racial Violence over this year has forced me to take a deeper look at myself, my own biases, and my privilege. I think that as a campus and a broader community we have been united by a common cause. It is sad that it took all this racial violence for us to finally face that racism still exists in this country and it never stopped.

    I try to stay away from the news in general, but with the election I have been keeping closer tabs. I’ve tried to limit my time on social media because of the fake information and the hatred that has filled my feed. I try to take mental health breaks by either reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. Sometimes it’s hard for me to put down my phone (like last night at 2 am), but I’ve realized that freaking out over it or staying up late is just hurting me.

    Among all of these challenges I’ve made new friends and gotten closer with my family. I’m really thankful for all of you guys! Coming onto campus and instantly having a family made everything a lot easier! I’ve grown a lot over these past few months and much of it came from bonding and learning with all of you!

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      So thankful to have you in this Bonner fam! So proud of you for pushing through things and can’t wait to see all that you do.

  27. Tristan Hunzinger says:

    This year has shown how truly divided our country is and has caused me to reflect on the reasons why this is. Political polarization has caused people to side against each other in ways that I have never experienced in my short life. Why does this happen? How are people so easily divided against each other? Why are people so quick to accept the first sources of information that are fed to them? How do I fall into these categories? These are all questions that have been brought to the forefront of my mind throughout this year.

    Despite the challenges this year has posed, I have been able to look on the positive side of many aspects of my life. Getting to spend such a long time at home with my family during quarantine was definitely a blessing, as there are most likely not too many of those times left before I start my own life away from home. Pursuing a career in physical therapy, I have been presented with several opportunities this year which have helped strengthen my experience in the field and affirm my decision of becoming a physical therapist.

    The biggest takeaway I have from this year is this: It is extremely important to educate ourselves on the large-scale issues that go on around us, in our communities in our societies and in our nation and do everything we can to create positive, sustainable change. It is equally important to self reflect, focus on the issues in our own lives, find ways to tackle those issues, and control the things that we can control, ourselves.

    • Michael Averill says:

      Hey Tristan,
      I really like the questions that you included in your post, especially “How do I fall into these categories?” It takes a high level of emotional intelligence to be able to self-regulate in this way. Change starts internally. I hope that with everything that has happened this year, people have had the time to really reflect on their own biases because whether we like it or not, we all have them. It’s important that we all ask ourselves whether we are part of the problem, or working as hard as we can to become a part of the solution.

  28. Ava Bibisi says:

    This year has brought challenges and impacted myself in all aspects of my life. The pandemic has caused me to look at my life differently and put real life things in perspective. Due to not being able to finish with sports team or have a high school graduation, I learned to not take the day-to-day things for granted. Even though some tasks may be tiresome or seem as though you want them to end, it isn’t until things are gone that you want them back. Instead of wanting things to come with the snap of my fingers, I’ve accepted the challenge of embracing all the bumps that come along the road. As hard as it is to watch the news and see these terrible things going on around us, I have learned that sometimes we need to face our challenges and hard times in order to succeed. Taking time for ourselves and knowing our worth is what can help in embracing a challenge. The pandemic has allowed me to find more time for myself and value who I am and what I have to give. It also gave me the time to focus on what I want to do in life and how I want to make a difference on others and the world around me. Rather than assuming all challenges this year have been negative, some of them have influenced me in a positive way.

  29. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    This year has brought many challenges to my life and my inner self, but all the things that challenged me, forced me to take a look at my life and myself and see that there is so much more we should be doing and thinking about. It has made me so much more aware of the political and racial inequality our country faces and how no one seems to understand it, unless it comes out of some white rich man’s mouth. I have seen impacts such as divisions of groups, of people who carry hate in their heart and how it has also unified such things like our Siena community, full of educated young individuals who want to engage in a difficult conversation that has been put off for too long. I am now more aware of present day news and think of it in a different way than I did before, to be able to see more of the meaning than a simple headline.
    I have not really taken time to care for myself due to the craze that is this semester, but everyday I am grateful for these difficult times, because I realize our society has had enough, and they have awaken so many of us, including me, to these issues that are pivotal to our societal growth. So regardless of all of these challenges 2020 has brought me, I would not change it because I have grown.

    • Erin Spence says:

      This semester has definitely brought many challenges, and I hope that as the semester comes to a close, you are able to take some time to relax and care for yourself. It is so important!

  30. Nicole Pazarecki says:

    This past semester has been extremely challenging for me, especially going to go through a pandemic. Adapting to the new rules and guidelines have been a challenge for myself because some of the things the school is enforcing I do not understand or agree with. It has been frustrating not being able to live a normal college life through these past months. I’ve have been upset some days and thought about going remotely during the semester, but as self care I try to think of the happy memories or future events that will bring me joy. I also reflect that my family is healthy, even though we are facing hardship back home with my family business. Overall, I try to think of better days for the future and focus my energy on the things most important to me.

  31. Amanda Molloy says:

    The events that have occurred this year have taken a toll on almost every person in some way. Personally I was affected by the pandemic when people close to me were positive for the virus in its early stages. That time was filled with uncertainty and fear. I am lucky to not have experienced racial violence as a white person but my heart does hurt for those who have had to struggle with that and fight for their rights while already dealing with a pandemic. For me, all of the light being shed on racial issues in our country has opened my eyes and made me do more research and genuinely try to learn and be an ally.

    It has honestly been difficult to watch the news each day and see how it just seems like one negative report after another. Whether it had to do with racial justice, the election or the pandemic almost every news story I have watched has so much tension around it. I have tried my best to stay informed and get my information from people and sources I trust and to avoid feeding into the negativity that in my opinion has surrounded so much of this year.

    I have tried to find things to take my mind off of the world around me as self care. As much as it is important to stay informed, fight for what’s right, social distance and do all the things to participate in society and make it better, it is also extremely important to not have these things consume oneself. I do try to remember the people and things that I am grateful for and that is honestly self care in itself.

    • Erin Spence says:

      I’m so glad that you are trying your best to prioritize self-care. I find myself becoming overwhelmed by the news and various media sources pretty easily, but it is good to be able to take a step back sometimes.

  32. Amanda Molloy says:

    The events that have occurred this year have taken a toll on almost every person in some way. Personally I was affected by the pandemic when people close to me were positive for the virus in its early stages. That time was filled with uncertainty and fear. I am lucky to not have experienced racial violence as a white person but my heart does hurt for those who have had to struggle with that and fight for their rights while already dealing with a pandemic. For me, all of the light being shed on racial issues in our country has opened my eyes and made me do more research and genuinely try to learn and be an ally.
    It has honestly been difficult to watch the news each day and see how it just seems like one negative report after another. Whether it had to do with racial justice, the election or the pandemic almost every news story I have watched has so much tension around it. I have tried my best to stay informed and get my information from people and sources I trust and to avoid feeding into the negativity that in my opinion has surrounded so much of this year.
    I have tried to find things to take my mind off of the world around me as self care. As much as it is important to stay informed, fight for what’s right, social distance and do all the things to participate in society and make it better, it is also extremely important to not have these things consume oneself. I do try to remember the people and things that I am grateful for and that is honestly self care in itself.

  33. Marlie says:

    This year has definitely been something else and for sure not the senior year I expected. With that being said, so much has happened since March. Instances of racial violence have genuinely been seen by individuals who in the past, were fortunate enough to be able to ignore it. I think being in the midst of a pandemic forced these people to recognize the racial injustices that have been occurring for centuries. In terms of the pandemic and my personal experience, it has been difficult to have to limit time with others, especially my family and friends. I do my best to find gratitude among the challenges by recognizing my personal health as well as the health of others. I spend time calling family and friends who I am not able to see in person to ensure I am staying in touch. I am extremely grateful to at least be on Siena’s campus, even if I do not leave my house all that often.

  34. Samantha Gisleson says:

    I have been very lucky and privileged to be impacted directly by only a few of the challenges that the world, and specifically our country, faced this year. Specifically, racial violence has not directly impacted me as a white college student. However, as a Black ally and someone who supports the anti-racist movement, it has further fueled my passion for ending racism in this country and creating a nation with a more equitable society. The pandemic has weighed heavily on me, but I am lucky to have had the support of my friends, family, and Bonner community to continue to push me to preserve through life challenges.

    I think that campus and the broader community were impacted by the challenges of this year in both positive and negative ways. From the increase of civic engagement through students active engagement in encouraging one another to vote to the fact that many of us have completed our coursework almost entirely from our dorm rooms; this year was certainly different. This year has been mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, but it also has brought us to a point in which we can create and enact social change. The U.S. is ready for change, and it is up to us, as young people, to see that change through.

    I try to reflect on the news each day, but I will admit that some days I try to block it out. I recognize this as a privilege that comes from having a stable home life and being a part of the “Siena bubble.” However, daily reflection of current events can sometimes weigh on me in ways that make it difficult for me to do the work I must do; whether that be academic or community based. As we approach one of the most important elections we have ever seen, I have tried to find ways to keep myself informed and active in terms of current events and news, while finding ways to keep this information from hindering my daily tasks and work.

    This year has been one of great change for me. One of the ways I have taken care of myself this year is to surround myself with people who support me and make me a better person. I have chosen to be grateful for the positive people in my life and to let those that bring “negative energy” fuel my passion for bettering myself and my community. I have learned to be grateful for challenges and the change that they bring. I have found ways to be at peace with that which I cannot change and to instead focus on what I can change. Self care has not always come easy to me, but in a sense the craziness that has been 2020 has taught me how to care for myself in a way that allows me to be my best self. The best way I can put it is: I am grateful for the challenges that this year has brought me and am hopeful that we as a society can take the lemons that 2020 gave us and make lemonade in 2021 and the years to come.

  35. Abigail Hoekman says:

    2020 has been no joke. It feels as though the tensions of the world like racial violence and social injustice have finally snapped under all the pressure and weight of a global pandemic. Police brutality towards people of color among many other social injustices has always existed. Disparities in access to healthcare have always existed for people of color. School systems and neighborhoods where people of color live have always been redlined and underfunded and deemed financially unstable. It is because of my white privilege that I have been blind to the truth of these issues until my college years. I am grateful for the pandemic in some ways. I am grateful for how it has made these issues become the spotlight and has provided opportunities for change and progression. I am grateful for the Bonner program for educating me and teaching me what it takes to be a true ally to people who face oppression due to their race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. I am grateful that the world has been forced to stop and listen. The world has heard the cries of people that have been suffering due to racist systems that benefit the white and wealthy and continue to segregate and disadvantage people of color, forcing them into poverty and health crisis, especially in this pandemic. Although all of this change and uncertainty has been a lot to manage as a student on the verge of graduation and entering the workforce, I am grateful that this program has prepared me for the last three years to be comfortable with discomfort. It is often said that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. The Bonner program has truly pushed me to my professional, academic, and personal limits in the past three (almost four) years. I am grateful for those trials that have made me stronger for times like these where we are all experiencing immense global and personal change and growth.

  36. Cody Romani says:

    This definitely has been the most challenging three months of my life. This pandemic has been very tough in many ways. This semester, it has been harder to socialize, more difficult to learn, and harder to stay positive. I have definitely hung out with less people this semester due to Covid restrictions and a very busy schedule. This semester has been draining for me and I am looking forward to resting during winter break.

    It is difficult to witness situations of racial violence around the world. I think it is essential to have these difficult conversations and to learn how to be a true ally. I like being educated about racial violence during Bonner meetings as well as listening to the experiences of others. In order to get through this pandemic and combat racial violence, we need to stick together.

    During the semester, I have stayed up to date with the news. I am so happy to see our campus come together with the desire to vote. Voting is a duty and a privilege. Overall, I am thankful for being here on campus during a pandemic. I am looking forward to getting some rest over the break and preparing for a safe return to campus in the spring.

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