• Tess Varley

Finding Gratitude on Campus

Even though we’re juniors living off campus, we couldn’t escape the outbreak of COVID-19 spreading throughout Providence College. Until Thanksgiving, we have been secluded to only interacting with our “pods.” My pod, consisting of myself and five other girls, lives in an apartment off of the known “party street” that borders the campus. Despite its infamous nickname, Eaton street has become eerily quiet over the past few months.

The six of us moved in in August, hopeful for a vaccine by the fall and anticipating a year full of new friends and unforgettable experiencesas an outgoing group, we thrive off of doing new things, especially on the weekend.

As we sit together, quarantined indefinitely with one another, we’ve learned to adjust and comfort one another through these unexpected, emotionally challenging times. It has become normal for myself or for one of my roommates to walk into another’s room and have a breakdown. No questions asked. We comfort one another and come up with an activity to put a smile on each other's face. Just last week when I cried about a bad meeting, and I found myself doing a virtual yoga class at 9pm with my roommate, Mackenzie. We have become each other’s support system, bonding our friendships more than we would have ever imagined.

We have filled up the time with themed dinners, movie nights, game nights, and finding random fun in our everyday activities. I asked each of my roommates how they have found gratitude in this unexpected environment and their responses were overwhelmingly positive despite challenging circumstances.

“Finding things that we all enjoy doing together, like going on walks or baking, have helped distract me while also finding joy in the situation we are in.” Mackenzie

“I feel like our bond as a friend group wouldn't be as close as it is now if it wasn’t for this order. The growth of our friendship is the silver lining in all of this madness.” Arianna

“I have found gratitude in our pod I think in all of the little things. The little notes that are left on my bad days, or how if one of us needs help we all pile into that person’s bed until they feel more grounded. Even in the way that if one of us is making a meal, we offer to make it for everyone.” Amanda

“We have looked for the positive in every situation. Talking to each other, making jokes, and laughing in general has helped me get through this time.” Vicky

“Times when we pile into either my bed or the couch and reflect on our days, how we are feeling, and what is going on in the world outside our house brings me comfort.” Julia

It is essential that in today’s uncertain environment, individuals take time to reflect and find what brings them gratitude. My roommates and I never thought we would be in this situation, but we have made the very best of it. It is the yoga, long walks, cooking and deep talks that have fueled me through this time. Hopefully, times can soon go back to how they were supposed to be, but the connections we have formed in the past few months are stronger than they ever would have been if times were ‘normal.’

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