When joy rose up

Remembering the moments of happiness during a year of chaos

Hailey Echan, Features Editor

While the last 12 months have been harrowing for many, pockets of joy were scattered throughout the journey. Struggling through isolation seems to have brought out some unexpected moments of connection.

When the reality of hardships and loss set in, students still found a way to enjoy the time they had.

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, but for senior mechanical engineering major Katelyn Ashworth, it comes in a rectangular box that easily fits into a pantry. Ashworth notes that her happiness during the stay-at-home orders warmed her heart and stomach.

“Kraft Mac and Cheese got me through it,” Ashworth said.

Tasty treats always come in handy, but so do personal relationships. Carlie Beets, sophomore family and consumer sciences secondary education major, found her happiness in the time that was provided through quarantine.

“Thankful for more quality time with family,” Beets said. “We all spent lots of time together watching movies, cooking, playing games, and doing lots of activities outside.”

The extra time provided by online classes and quarantine allowed for extra time with family and much more. For freshman Hailey Hopper-Gray, a creative writing major, the time was used to strengthen her spiritual life.

“I was able to go deeper in my relationship with God,” Hopper-Gray said. “I have had a lot of health issues that were just starting to resolve when COVID first hit so I was used to suffering. But then all of a sudden I was seeing the world as a whole go through an intense season of suffering. It really made me think about how God can be so good and yet there can be so much hurt and pain in the world.”

Spiritual connection was not the only connection being made. Although junior music composition and research major Rachael Fasano struggled with the lack of physical connection, she was able to find connection through other outlets.

“Making music with another human brought so much joy,” Fasano said.

Students had to be creative with how to stay connected with people. COVID-19 caused a lot of confusion in addition to the hardships. Among that confusion was what the right decision would be when committing to colleges. Freshman psychology major Sarah Day found joy in the fact that the pandemic led to a surprisingly great decision.

“Committing to SPU when I was about to commit elsewhere pre-COVID,” Day said. “COVID made it hard to visit schools that I was talking to and since I live close to Seattle I know I loved the area already which made it an easier and safer choice to commit to SPU.”

While all of the above reasons brought joy to the lives of many in the middle of all the chaos, Amanda Lester, junior sociology major, found joy in the most important things of all.

“Dogs and picnics!” Lester said.