“I See You”

Ariela on a zoom meeting

A blog post by SOLES PhD in Leadership Studies Student Ambassador Ariela Canizal

I’ve been remote working and sheltering in place, for nearly a month and a half now. I feel lucky to be able to work from home since several members of my family, friends and my students are still working since their jobs don’t offer this perk. I am currently in my second year of the PhD leadership studies program and I work full-time at USD. There aren’t that many things I miss since working and learning under quarantine, but I’ve come to realize that I miss being around my students, colleagues, classmates and family. Pre-pandemic, I appreciated the moments I remember being surrounded by peers, colleagues, and students because when Covid-19 hit California, it hit hard, and it’s fair to say that we weren’t prepared for the physical distancing we would all be experiencing while also trying to stay socially connected within our communities. Even though I’m managing without physically interacting with my students, colleagues and peers I’m reminded this is my new normal. I still very much miss those times before the pandemic, when moments with my students, colleagues, peers and family were more frequent, when I could stand within six feet of someone and look them in the eye, and say, without words, ‘I see you’, knowing that they see me, too. But I am reminded that we are all managing and doing relatively well. I admit I’ve been afraid during these trying times, but I am still allowing myself to have grace while also reminding my students, peers, colleagues and family that this new normal might be an adjustment for all us.

Ariela with students

Recently, Morgan Harper Nichols shared this message via her Instagram and it is a great reminder to embrace our journey and circumstances,

So much has changed since last May of last year
but here you are, day by day,
continuing to breathe
despite the fears.
Finding hope in small things
right here where you are.
I know it doesn’t seem like it lately,
But you have still come so far.
Thank you for your courage.
Your strength.
Your heart.

Staying connected might look differently for all us now, and I appreciate how the scholarship of leadership while being a doctoral student has reminded me to stay informed while also staying connected not just virtually because I want my community and strangers to know “I see you.”

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