Art by Leah Bae
Nov. 24, the last official day of the fall 2020 semester, marks the conclusion to an abbreviated and unusual term for both students and faculty at Pepperdine.
As the end of the semester approaches, some students prepare for a time of rest, while others get ready to take more classes or complete internships. No matter what individual plans students may have, every member of the Pepperdine community will anxiously await news about the spring semester and try to find ways to enjoy themselves in the midst of a pandemic this holiday season.
“I’ll still enjoy it, but with coronavirus and living in California, there’s not much you can do,” first-year Alina Sanchez said.
For first-years who have yet to physically meet their classmates, this remote semester has been socially difficult. Sanchez said she has made friends in some of her classes, but seeing each other virtually isn’t the same as hanging out in person.
“I want to meet the people behind the Zoom screens,” Sanchez said.
While she has yet to connect with classmates in Payson or on Alumni, Sanchez said she recently joined Gamma Phi Beta and plans to spend her free time over winter break traveling to see sorority sisters who live nearby in Calabasas.
Sanchez also said while she would love to take a trip farther away from her home in Southern California, as the pandemic continues, she chooses to be cautious instead.
“I’d be down to take a plane ride somewhere over break, but with coronavirus, you don’t know the risk or what’s going to happen,” Sanchez said. “I’d rather not take the risk.”
According to an Oct. 21 Graphic survey of 37 students, about 49% of students polled will travel during winter break, with many respondents citing family holiday gatherings or simply needing to get out of the house as their reasons for doing so.
About 38% of students polled plan to work over the break. One such student is senior Megan Thomas, who will continue working as part of an internship she began in August.
Thomas said she is interning at El Rescate, a Los Angeles-based non-governmental organization that provides legal services to Central and South American immigrants. She is a Spanish minor, so she said the practice she gets at work over winter break will be invaluable for her.
“It’s an entirely Spanish-speaking office, so that is sometimes a challenge, but also really good for me to keep up on practicing my Spanish,” Thomas said.
Apart from improving her second language and providing academic credit, Thomas said her work will be great for her future as a law school student. Thomas plans to use her time off from work for the holidays to study for the LSAT as well as spend time with family at her home in Colorado.
Another student who will be using the winter break to focus on professional development is senior Kendall Ross. Ross said since opening her online knitwear shop, I’d Knit That, she’s been looking forward to time spent solely on her craft.
“Over Christmas break, I am hopefully going to just focus on my business and knitting without having to worry about if I have assignments due,” Ross said. “It’s going to be a lot less stressful.”
Ross said the highlight of the upcoming break will be spending time away from her computer and Zoom — two stressors she’s ready to part with.
“It’s a lot having to be on your computer all day — on top of asynchronous assignments and everything,” Ross said. “Not having to be sitting on my computer all day will be good.”
About 35% of students polled similarly do not plan on doing any studying or schoolwork during their break, according to the survey.
Like Sanchez, Ross said while she would like to travel during the next few months, she has no plans. Despite this, Ross said she still believes the winter break will be a welcome time of rest and creative productivity after a whirlwind fall semester.
“Even if I’m not traveling, it will be nice to not have things to do for a little bit — to have a couple of months where there aren’t people constantly expecting things from me,” Ross said.
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Contact Addie Whiten via Twitter: @addisonwhiten or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org