When I first came to NC State as a freshman, I had a mentality similar to many others. It felt as though there was an immense amount of possibility, and in many ways, this was true.
It’s here at NC State that I entered adulthood, considered what career path I believed I was best suited for, and became passionate about issues affecting my community. It’s at NC State that I came across some of the most ambitious and driven people I have ever met.
However, I never expected a situation that involved a global pandemic and an entirely virtual semester. My senior year has had unprecedented challenges, and as a result, so has my way of life.
I live with my roommates in an off-campus apartment right on Hillsborough Street, which means college life still has some framing of normality. A typical day is waking up in the morning, usually exhausted, and preparing for my classes via Zoom. My desk is often strewn with sticky notes listing out reminders, and my calendar usually has a daily deadline, but this is where I spend most of my time. Listening to lectures, writing papers, reading about court cases, and doing research, life can often feel restricted to my desk, chair and laptop.
This is incredibly different from what my life was like a year ago, and though this is difficult, I feel lucky to have had so many in-person experiences in classes in the past. I can still communicate with my peers in the present.
Throughout my day, I aim to keep a schedule that breaks up the work for my classes, but, in truth, it’s a challenge. Every day my mentality feels slightly different, so it’s fundamental that I take care of my mental, emotional and physical well-being. While I can’t say that I do the best job, I know this practice will be essential in my post-graduate career. Figuring out a schedule that works best for me will give me the discipline I need to succeed. A routine can help breed inspiration and creative ideas out of everyday life.
Things that have helped me in my day-to-day life are going on walks with friends, exercising whenever I can, and connecting via FaceTime when I need a break.
This semester I was supposed to study abroad before my program was cancelled due to COVID-19. I felt that studying abroad would be the highlight of my college career, but I’ve come to realize that where I am is where I’m meant to be. While I am incredibly disappointed, I know that being in Raleigh this semester will serve me better for whatever is in my future.
To make up for this experience, I recently took up writing as a correspondent for Technician, the student paper at NC State, which has been such a highlight during this time. Writing has always been a passion of mine in various formats, so it has been a true gift to have a platform to discuss issues that I feel are relevant to everyone. It also proves that it is never too late to try something new and get involved.
In the grief that the world is experiencing from polarizing politics, disease and racial injustice, I have gained more perspective. I’m more aware of where I want to be in the next five years. I’ve gained work experience and will pursue a law degree. The people I’ve met and the health I have are irreplaceable and essential.
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This season is new and constantly changing, sometimes for the worse. It’s constant work to remind myself to try and be the very best person and student I can be. The concept of “Sunrise Faith” speaks to the idea that no matter how hard today is, the sun will rise tomorrow, and you will be granted another chance. Though it may not always feel this way, whatever is on the horizon is an opportunity to be inspired in the face of adversity — and to lean into grace when you need it.
College is not supposed to be easy, but now it is harder than ever. Still, I have no doubt that my fellow peers will pursue the best of today — inevitably being prepared for the future that is to come.