A Semester Full of “Firsts”

As I stand at my kitchen counter waiting for my Snickerdoodles to finish baking, I cannot help but let my eyes wander to the section of the dining room table that became my makeshift workspace. Comprised of a laptop stand, wireless keyboard, mouse, and a pumpkin that has been there since October, this seemingly simple set-up holds the entirety of my first semester as a college student.

This semester, although completely chaotic given the state of the global pandemic, was filled with “firsts.” Whether it be my first time completing a semester online or turning in a college-level assignment, the experiences were truly unmatched. For example, my Arabic 101 class was the first foreign language class I have taken online. While I would occasionally have issues understanding phrases as the professor spoke about them in class, I remembered that office hours are still available on an online format and that my professor encouraged all of us to speak with him if we ever needed help or would just like to talk.

Speaking with my Arabic 101 professor gave me probably the most important “first” of college in a global pandemic: building the confidence to maintain a healthy line of communication. Given the dependence on online resources and the distance between myself and Holy Cross’s campus, I understood the importance of fostering efficient communication not only with my professors, but with my peers and others in the Holy Cross community.

It might feel like we are truly isolated at times, but it is important to remember that everyone is going through this experience. While I cannot simply say “How goes it, my dude?” to passersby on campus, I can certainly send them a message or e-mail. Despite the distance that stands between me and my classmates, I feel incredibly connected to them thanks to the “firsts” we have encountered together and the overall universality of our experiences.

Essentially, geographical location does not matter. It’s the lines of communications that build bridges to foster incredibly strong connections with others.

Before I go, I would like to say one more thing: Happy Holidays! In the words of my Thai family members, I hope that the New Year bring nothing but prosperity and good health to all of us.

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