Within a week of arriving at William & Mary, I learned the “rose-bud-thorn” exercise, often used during reflection in classes and clubs. We’re a thoughtful community. For those unfamiliar, exercise participants share something that stood out to them as wonderful (rose), something they are excited to develop (bud), and something that they are unhappy with (thorn). I appreciate the technique because it is a quick and easy way to incorporate reflection into the day. In times like these, when most of us have more time alone than we are accustomed to, I think it can be productive to devote a few minutes to thinking about our roses, buds, and thorns. In order to spread some positivity, I would like to share my rose and bud with you.
I chose to attend William & Mary, in part, because of the professors’ reputation for caring about their students. While it’s true that our professors care a lot, I never appreciated it as much as I do now. My professors’ dedication and compassion is my rose in this pandemic. My professors are constantly in communication with students; they respond to emails at all hours of the day, host regular office hours via Zoom, and several of mine have even created online discussion boards for their classes in order to further streamline communication and increase transparency.
It has been difficult for students to transition to online classes; I can’t imagine how hard it was for professors to alter syllabi, modify course content, and change class formatting entirely. Nevertheless, my professors have done just that — and in only a week. Moreover, professors make sure to keep a pulse on how students are feeling; it’s not unusual for professors to begin Zoom classes by asking how their students are. I have had class discussions about the pandemic, its effect on our lives, and our feelings and anxieties. It amazes me how much our faculty care, and it is my rose because it bolsters my sense of William & Mary community.
My bud is Zeta Omicron Omicron Mu, also known as Zeta Mu, an online co-ed sorority that began as a meme group on Facebook several weeks ago. Over the course of a few days, the group gained popularity and attracted over 10,000 members. The sorority quickly formed a multitude of committees including but not limited to an academic committee, an elections committee, an employment committee, a ritual committee, and a website committee. Members were encouraged to apply for leadership positions, and the elections committee quickly got to work selecting Zeta Mu officers.
I am thrilled to share that I have been elected as one of the Directors of Scholarship! The other Director of Scholarship, Quinn Hricik, is a sophomore at NYU studying science education. We have a lot of ideas for promoting academic excellence within the community; we are currently working with the academic committee to advertise the Zoom Academic Hub, a discord server with channels for every subject in which members can ask questions, collaborate, and organize study groups. Zeta Mu is my bud because I am so excited to see where it goes; it is super cool to me because it has brought together students from around the country, and the world.
Despite the physical distancing necessary to flatten the curve, I think it is essential to our mental health to stay connected to the rest of the world. After reflecting on my rose and bud, I realized how helpful it is to me to retain a sense of community. I hope that you can find a similar sense in your life. Thank you for allowing me to share my reflection with you, and for being a part of the tribe that is keeping me going. Wishing everyone the best in the pandemic!