I started my freshman year at the University of Utah in the fall of 2019. Now a sophomore, I have spent more of my college experience online due to the COVID-19 pandemic than I have in person. I, like so many others, have lost a lot due to COVID. However, my on-campus connections have been the saving grace during it all.
When considering enterprise story ideas, I decided to highlight on-campus communities and connections in the times of COVID, with hopes to find a silver lining in such hard times, and maybe even help someone find the community they have been looking for.
As a member of Delta Gamma women’s fraternity, I knew the Panhellenic community has been active during the pandemic and that it was a resource worth highlighting. To hear from a perspective much wider than my own, I spoke to Panhellenic President Erin Doyle. She gave me great insight into what the community was doing as a whole rather than just the actions of my own sorority.
I wanted to highlight a diverse range of communities, so next, I spoke to Shelby Hearn at the LGBT Resource Center. I previously did not know much about the services at the center, but after speaking to Hearn I was glad I chose it as a resource. The center has found such creative and engaging ways to help students. It has even started connecting with students in new ways that will likely continue post-pandemic.
One of the biggest and best surprises I encountered during my process was in my interview with BobbiJo Kanter, the associate director of student programs at the Bennion Center. I was worried going into it that I would have to tell stories of the center’s struggles finding people willing to participate in its community service opportunities. Instead, I saw the opposite. It had more students hoping to help than it had places to put them. Wanting to tell a positive story in the light of the pandemic, I was very excited about this.
Once I had gathered my notes, I began to write. I had come up with my headline, “Community during COVID: How University of Utah student groups are staying connected” weeks before. Throughout my interviews and especially in my writing, I kept that as my focus. If it answered that question, then it had a place in my story.
I was finally able to end it exactly as I’d hoped, on a positive note with the quote from Kanter about how despite the difficulty, “This year gave us an opportunity.”
When I was little, I dreamed of being a doctor, then a wizard, then a dentist, then a potter, and everything else in between. The only passion that persisted through it all was writing.
However, that dream has continued to evolve through my time at the University of Utah. I am currently pursuing a degree in quantitative analysis of markets and organizations and a double minor in computer science and writing and rhetoric studies. I have loved learning about such broad topics and seeing how the skills from each area of study complement each other.
I enjoy the breadth of my studies, but I am unsure of exactly where it will lead me. I plan to work as a business analyst, or go to graduate school to get an MBA, or go to law school, become a journalist in any of those fields (assuming becoming a wizard doesn’t work out).
To me, my dream of writing is still relevant no matter what field I go into, as every job (and life as a whole) requires some element of storytelling.