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As the weather warms and the sun graces Glenside more and more frequently, I am reminded of my home in Los Angeles, California. I am also beginning to feel a sensation I have not felt in a long time: I am looking forward to every day. Moreover, I am looking forward to the future. It seems that the world might just go back to normal sometime soon… or whatever normal is after a year like this.
- Anthony Devantier
Truth be told, this year was not at all what I had planned. I know that many college students change their plans abruptly, in the middle of their education. I know that most people experience their first real heartbreaks and tribulations around my age, too. I know that so many people struggle with their mental health. I know these things, and yet, dealing with all that simultaneously, in the midst of a pandemic, I felt like there was nothing left of my college experience to look forward to.
That was how I was thinking and feeling a month ago. I wasn’t able to blog. I was working through an injury that was jeopardizing my senior season; oh, and I was not even sure if there would be a volleyball season. I was having difficulty finding the motivation to do much of anything. I love to read and write and cook and play music. All of my time was taken up by school, student teaching in particular. I was surviving, not living. And I was only just barely surviving.
But I had the courage to do something about it. When I arrived at Arcadia, as a freshman, I was of two minds: I could follow in the footsteps of so many loved ones and do what many of my mentors had recommended: Become a teacher. I could also do something totally different, something that interested me deeply and which was endlessly fascinating. Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) master’s program was part of what had drawn me here in the first place. When I realized that I did not want to teach—the road which I had chosen for some time—I found that IPCR was still available to me. They welcomed me with open arms. This new direction has brought new wind into my sails. I plan to continue my education at Arcadia next year.
Volleyball has also helped me a great deal. The pandemic took many things from us, but for me, the biggest impact that Covid had was the hours each day that I could not play the game I love. My teammates and my coaches are some of the most important people in my life. It has been incredibly important to my happiness to be back in the gym with them.
I also live with some of them. During the pandemic, I had to leave the apartment that I had lived in with my ex-girlfriend. Luckily, there was a house open, and it has quickly been populated with volleyball players, good friends, and a burgeoning family.
One of the most important changes that has come in the past month was that I have been using Arcadia’s Counseling Services regularly. In the past, I have sought help from the school’s programs, but only sporadically, and without any intention on seeing it through. But since I have made my mental health a priority, I have found that therapy is very helpful. During the pandemic, these meetings have been conducted online, just as everything else has been, and they are completely free for students.
This new direction has me inspired to wake up every day. I have been able to read and write again, and I feel more like myself—not my old self, but a new and better self. The smile I wear these days is genuine, and I cannot wait to share with everyone what the next months and years have to come.