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Student Spotlights: My 2020 Story

Published December 23, 2020

2020 was a year that came with challenges, adapting to a new world guided by new realms of academia. In all of the chaos, the College of Health and Human Services community has persevered. In these uncertain times, we invited students to reflect on 2020 and tell us what they look forward to in 2021. Whether they learned a new skill, made memories with new friends and instructors, or simply made it through the semester without losing hope, they worked hard to accomplish their goals, and we wanted to hear from them. 


Bryan Bartolo

Health Science 

"I think the one thing I did in 2020 where I felt accomplished was getting a 3.58 GPA for the spring semester. For the first time in a long time, I didn't get a C in any of my classes, so I felt relief that my work, transition from face-to-face to virtual, and time I was able to do good and get a great GPA. And I didn't realize that you can get an honor reward from school so that was a surprise for me. I was able to have a job during this time. My boss understood that I had school so I was able to work Fridays and Saturdays. Even then, I tried to have some work done beforehand and then after work, finish up. It does get stressful but as long as I take it a step at a time, I'm good. The most important lesson I learned about myself in 2020 was being able to learn about new things. Instead of having a fixed mindset, I was able to learn about society, cultures, and different backgrounds of people. Compared to my parent's generation, I think I was able to say I don't want to nor do I want to be like them. I want to accept people for who they are. The one thing I'm looking forward to is for life to be "normal." As in the COVID-19 vaccine, hopefully, people can be able to take it soon. And then the other thing I'm looking forward to is new opportunities. I want to be able to get a new job, a new place to live and be independent as a person."



Gabriele Wuterich

Anthropology, Minor Forensics 

When asked about her 2020, Gabriele Wuterich says she owes a lot to her drive: "I've maintained my 4.0 despite utterly losing grasp on my life and mental health. I've also applied to a couple doctorate programs, so I've maintained an optimistic view through this mess. I maintained work and school performance through making sacrifices in my sleep schedule and exercise routine, which are both in shambles." When asked what she learned in 2020 she said "I have indomitable will and I should trust myself more." She is looking forward to graduation in the next year and hopes it brings her a sense of accomplishment after years of hard work.




Blossom Adanike

Speech Language Pathology 

Blossom Adanike attributes her sense of community to her peers and professors, and comments on the lessons she learned in 2020. "By asking questions and joining group discussions, I was able to build a network with my fellow peers. The most important lesson I learned in 2020 is that difficult times bring us together as a community. In times of uncertainty, fear, and pain, we have found hope within ourselves to carry on."





Kyla Alexandre

Recreation & Leisure Studies 

"I managed to maintain all A's in all of my classes, which I did not expect I would be able to do my first semester of college, let alone virtually. It feels really good to know that all of my hard work is paying off. I tutored a few times a week. It was never really a struggle to balance because I am naturally a really organized person and I ensured to plan everything I needed to do in order to stay on top of everything. I joined a sorority which allowed me to form really incredible connections with incredibly strong women. It allowed me to find a really welcoming safe space. As for my instructors, I made a point to keep my camera on and/or participate as much as I can in order to show that I am actively listening. I have learned that it is not about what you do, but who you do it with. How I have interacted with my family has changed a lot. We have to be outside and masked and distanced from one another, but when it's good company it does not seem as bad. I have learned to be grateful for what and who I have in my life. I'm looking forward to all of the changes that will be made as we get a new change in government and as we have a practice COVID plan, I'm excited to see that change and hope for some positive news and changes throughout the year.



Eryn D. Burnett

Healthcare Administration

Erin D. Burnett has taken this year to expand her professional career while balancing a rigorous academic workload. "I had to keep techniques like mindfulness and gratitude at the forefront of my mind. Plus, this helped me to give grace to others, whether it be my family members or my peers or my co-workers." Working hard to sustain balance in her life helped her learn about herself in new ways. "I am much more resilient and resourceful than I previously thought. Staying at home was hard even for me (a self-proclaimed introvert). Through it all, I was able to find a balance, create new professional opportunities for myself, and grow my skills in new ways virtually. In 2021, I am looking forward to challenging myself, enrolling in graduate school, and continuing to do what I can to keep my loved ones safe and healthy."