• Issue 6

Life in a pandemic has been difficult for us all. Our standard ways of interacting, learning, and working have been constantly tested. New ways of gathering together, watching sports, and taking classes have been implemented, not always with success. Finding ways to stay social and maintain connections have been essential. But sometimes, as Danielle Peretti ’17 notes, it’s the little things that mean the most. 

In some ways, the pandemic is just what Danielle needed to channel her energy into what she most cares about. A stellar student at Kennedy Catholic, Danielle had a reputation as someone who was always willing to help, and involved in everything. She took on every project, volunteer opportunity, and leadership role that came her way. While she was able to explore every activity she was interested in (and some she wasn’t!), it left her feeling burnt out. She was ready for a change of pace. Since starting at Gonzaga University, and especially over the past few months, she’s been able to focus on the causes and organizations that matter most to her, leading her to grow her strengths and passions. It’s also helped her with some personal growth. As someone who is used to taking the lead, reaching out, asking for help and guidance has always been a challenge for Danielle, but they have become necessary in our new normal.

Life at Gonzaga has always been focused on community togetherness, something that is severely challenged in a pandemic. But as it turns out, there has been a silver lining to being a college student during this time. Because none of the standard systems will work, Danielle has noticed an explosion in creativity from her classmates, club members, and teachers to ensure everyone succeeds in their new normal. There are now new procedures for testing, and more of a focus on collaboration. Her friends from each activity in her life have found times to connect and to give a schedule to her day that gets her focused on something other than being stuck behind a screen all day, every day. 

Danielle has always been driven by what inspires her most: people. It may have been a teacher who was able to bring the subject of history to life for her, like Mr. Wright at Kennedy Catholic, or classmates working together to raise donations, with Lancers Against Cancer. It could also be her intramural teammates at Gonzaga, rallying together to stay connected, or her friends and lunch buddies who now socialize virtually.  

These past several months have taken their toll on all of us, but as Danielle reflects back, she remembers thinking “big themed Zoom gatherings or trendy quarantine games were the key to feeling connected, but over time, the little things have proven to have the most impact on maintaining some sense of normalcy.” While fall is rolling in now, winter won’t be far behind it. As Danielle’s favorite season, she’s looking forward to rainy days where she can sleep in, drink coffee, and watch her favorite guilty pleasure: old reality shows.  

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