Dog with a blog – Marta Candelas ’23

This semester has been special in many ways. Not only was this my first semester on campus since the pandemic happened, but I’ve learned new things about myself. Making the decision to come in person has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I was leaving my family(including my three pets) behind for a really long time. During that time, I realized how emotionally dependent I was from my family. We became closer during quarantine and they were also the best coping mechanism during my anxiety episodes. However, they helped me make this decision and supported me during the entire process. I don’t regret coming back at all. I call my parents and family multiple times a day, they have to be part of the start and end of my day.

This semester has given me new friends that I’m glad to have in my life. I never thought I would find much amazing people during a pandemic, where you can only hang out with your pod. But I think it was the circumstances that made me closer with these people. We’ve bonded over all the many different ways in which the pandemic has changed us, all the struggles we have in common. Some of these people, I met in the OIS Lounge!

Doing my work-study in person has been a great experience. I had the opportunity to see what interns do during regular times. I also had the chance to meet first-year internationals, which has been really rewarding. I’ve learned how Covid-19 has impacted their chance to make new friends during such an important year. I’m glad most of them have made their way around and found their people. I don’t know what I would do without my international friends that I met during orientation. I have no doubt that 10 years from now I will still be able to count on them.

My pod has been one of the most supportive group throughout this semester. They’ve been with me during the hardest situations that I’ve encountered this semester. We’ve definitely seen each other change and grow throughout these past two years. It’s amazing to have them be the family I come home to everyday in college, while being away from my other family. We have cheese parties on Fridays, where we talk about our week and just make memories.

My family back home recently got a new dog. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why I  can’t wait to go home in a month from now. His name is Willow, after the Taylor Swift song, and he’s supposed to go with my sister to pharmaceutical school in the fall. But we’ll see if I actually let that happen and take him to Vassar with me instead. I’m sure he would enjoy this beautiful campus. The truth is I miss my pets more than anything. Butcy, Rumba, Heihei, they were one of the biggest sources of emotional support last semester. I just want to have them next to me.

I learned that no matter how much work I have, I need to make time to take care of myself. Doing my best means everything I can do while getting the necessary amount of sleep, food, and mental health time. Our time at Vassar is limited, and we have to make sure we look at the trees enough, appreciate our friends enough, talk with staff enough, and let our college selves feel enough. One last thing: I can’t wait to go to the beach in Puerto Rico again.

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