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SNC Employee, Alum and Parent Says Our Students Are Crushing It

As an administrator, alum and parent of a current Green Knight, I was delighted to be invited to share a few thoughts with you. Now in our third semester of campus life impacted by COVID-19, three words rise up for me: reality, respect and resilience.

Reality: COVID life is hard. It’s hard for our families, the various places we live and work, and it’s hard on a college campus. I don’t think it helps your students to pretend differently. We acknowledge that the restrictions aren’t fun, and students have and will stumble. Know that we monitor the restrictions, and will continue to do so, and to ease up where we safely can. We realize we are learning as we go. We’ve done a lot of things right as a college, and we’re proud of that. But we’ve also learned along the way. Learning, from both our failures and successes, is part of the reality of this time.

Respect: This is my 23rd year working at SNC, and my respect for our students has only grown through these tough months. We’ve seen students display respect – for themselves, their peers, our faculty and staff. It’s true we had a number of students go through a judicial process last semester for their failure to comply with public health guidelines. The most common sanction, often alongside other sanctions, was an educational conversation or essay. Time and again, students conveyed that even if they didn’t like the restrictions we have in place, they understand the rules exist for a reason. They realize following them is an important way to show respect.

Resilience: Much has been made in recent years about whether young people have resilience, or grit. In fact, Angela Duckworths Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance was the focus of a faculty/staff discussion group just a few years ago. And if anything has demonstrated the resilience of our students, it’s the way they came back to campus this spring. COVID life on campus wasn’t theoretical for our returning students. They had lived it, and knew it wouldn’t be perfect. But they came, and they are eagerly engaging this new semester. They’ve jumped into their coursework, they’ve attended the student leadership conference or the virtual career fair, they’re engaged in community service or working out with their teams, they’re attending performances and lectures, they marked Ash Wednesday by attending Mass or an outdoor ecumenical service between classes. Once again, in so many ways they are making us proud!

Together we will get to the other side of this reality, and when we do, your students’ respect and resilience will tell the story of how we did it!

Julie Donovan Massey ’87
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

March 19, 2021