Students Talk About Connection During COVID

Students Talk About Connection During COVID

Alfredo Ramirez, M.S., STEM Program Coordinator
Leann Lo, MFA, Assistant Professor, Communication

Want to know how students feel about the importance of connection in this time of COVID? We asked some!

In a time when the word “unprecedented” has been overused, it’s important to remember how accurate the word actually is. The year 2020 has inflicted COVID-19, wildfires fueled by climate change, racial tension and political polarization…and that’s just the short list. Any one of these issues is a lot to deal with on its own, but we aren’t unaccustomed to difficulty. We are well-versed in not just surviving, but thriving, even if it has been particularly difficult to do so in 2020.  

The global community has experienced a tragedy in a time when technology allows us to share more closely in our experiences. This increased ability to engage with each other has added another complex layer to understanding our present circumstances but has also opened up an avenue of support. People across generations and nations and ethnicities have found ways to use these platforms to voice their concerns, fears and truth, which has created opportunities for people to understand those outside of themselves. Staff, faculty and students at FPU have had to consider many aspects and use different means when trying to make sense of the year and stay connected. 

Miguel Montoya, a senior criminology student, says, “engaging culture means working towards a better understanding of the ‘other’ in order to pave a better future for everyone.” He states that Fresno Pacific and the world in general could work towards this goal of understanding each other better and narrowing the divide that exists by “acknowledging and respecting those who have been historically ignored, such as the LGBTQ+ community as well as the indigenous, immigrants and the Black and Asian communities.” By seeking to understand those from underrepresented groups, and by engaging with their cultures, we become more compassionate humans, better able to complete God’s work on Earth. 

Kassandra Klein, a senior English major, echoes what Miguel wrote and what a lot of us have been feeling during this time of disconnection: purposeful action is necessary to keep our communities together and united. She wrote, “I would hope to achieve a reciprocal relationship of support and understanding between myself and my community. In other words, I want my community to support and understand me, and I want to do the same for my community.” She goes on to specify indicators of support and belonging. “One of those indicators is if I feel like I hear my community and vice versa: I seek not only to listen to the issues of my communities, but I also seek to be heard. This reciprocal relationship of support and understanding should also give both my communities and me a sense of belonging, acceptance and connection.” 

This year is complicated and filled with uncertainty that can sprout fear, but even though it might look different, engaging in our communities is more important than ever. Kassy mentions voting to engage with the U.S. and attending events to keep in touch with her FPU community; Miguel writes about actions as simple as recognizing and respecting those who have been relegated to being “the other” as a way to protect their humanity and maintain connections with them.  We were made to be connected, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). We have the gift of belonging to several different communities, and we must protect those connections. Actions previously thought to be “small” or “a given,” like showing up or listening, have suddenly become vital to protecting and maintaining that commitment to each other.


Leann Lo, MFA

Alfredo Ramirez, M.S.