Art By Samantha Miller
From housing difficulties and struggles with finding a community to adapting to campus life and in-person classes, many students are — to some extent — returning to or entering a different campus. This period of significant transition provides an opportunity for students to build the campus culture they want.
Coupled with all the excitement surrounding the return to the Malibu campus, anxiety and confusion accompany the numerous changes each student is experiencing.
Some people may be challenged in appreciating and enjoying in-person activities because of how overwhelming the transition has been. Being secluded due to stay-at-home orders for so long can trigger social anxieties and safety concerns when entering back into everyday life. Others might be working through grief and loss while feeling the pressure to snap back to a sense of normalcy.
Each class is going through its own trials. First-year students have to experience campus events for the first time at limited capacity with masks, and sophomores completed their first year of college online.
Juniors missed their study abroad experience and returned to campus as upper-level students who were sent home during their first year. Seniors have had to spend a portion of every college year at home, first because of fires and then the pandemic.
There is not a single class that has experienced an undisrupted year of their college careers.
This year, it is essential students come together to listen to one another’s stories and recognize the losses all of us have gone through. Through being there for one another, we can each foster a greater sense of community and belonging.
Pepperdine is in a state of transition, and many are coming into this year trying to learn what being a part of the Pepperdine community means to them.
Despite the potentially intimidating elements of change, this period presents an opportunity for students to create new traditions, experiences and memories.
While the idea of showing up in person might be daunting after 18 months of interacting virtually, students can rebuild Pepperdine’s community by engaging safely in campus events and activities together.
Being back on campus gives students the freedom to unite by rooting for Pepperdine teams at <atarget=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://pepperdinewaves.com/”>athletics games and support the arts by attending shows. For instance, students can go watch Pepperdine Music and Theatre Departments’ production of Mamma Mia from Nov. 12 to Nov. 20.</atarget=”_blank”>
Showing spirit for Pepperdine is a way for students to step into on-campus life and foster a sense of unity that was not as accessible virtually.
Another way to strengthen community is to join and consistently support clubs on campus, such as Hawai’i Club, Armenian Student Association and Crossroads. Students can find more information about clubs and events on Peppervine. The different student organizations Pepperdine offers highlight the growing diversity of identities and passions in our student population, which is something to celebrate.
The power is ultimately in the students’ hands to decide the kind of Pepperdine they’d like to build together — one tethered to expectations of what normal could look like or one motivated to strengthen community and appreciate the Pepperdine we have not been able to experience in so long.
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