With the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, it’s no secret that this summer semester has been more busy than those of the past.
Communication senior Sarah Hoenig said her focus has shifted from her summer classes to activism in order to educate herself on local community issues.
“I have definitely placed more focus on reading and becoming more educated on what’s happening with the movement,” Hoenig said. “That is much more important to me right now than studying for a class.”
At the center of Hoenig’s attention is how the movement is affecting her fellow Aggies.
“I have especially focused more on keeping up with the movement around the nation and our own campus,” Hoenig said. “So yes, it has been a challenge, but it is more important to me to understand how this movement is affecting our campus and so many Aggies.”
With the mindset of putting activism over coursework, graduate student Aya Bridgeland said no matter the difficulty of her classes, her priorities lie with the BLM movement.
“The course load is pretty steep, plus I’m working on my graduate research,” Bridgeland said. “With the recent protests and the renewed national focus on the BLM movement, it feels really important for me to participate in what’s going on over my classwork.”
Bridgeland said the most challenging task has been keeping up with how fast news passes through social media.
“The news moves really fast and I’m always trying to keep up with it. I’m spending hours reading news articles and petitions, scrolling [through] my Twitter and Instagram feed for information and it just takes up a lot of time,” Bridgeland said. “Clearly, I’m doing this because I care about the movement, but it’s definitely making me a worse student when it comes to my summer classes.”
Finance junior Miguel Soto said he has felt disappointed at not being able to attend protests because of his focus on his summer classes. However, he said no matter the circumstances, he still wants to educate himself and stay informed while performing well in his classes.
“I sadly wasn’t able to go protest due to having so many assignments due and taking longer than I thought to do them,” Soto said. “I’ve still been keeping myself informed about the movement as much as I can while staying focused and on task in school.”
Soto said it has been a struggle trying to balance activism with obeying his parents wishes for him to do well in school.
“My parents have always raised me to put school first before anything except family,” Soto said. “My parents have sacrificed so much so I can go to school so I don’t want to disappoint them. But at the same time I wish I could be out protesting and having my voice be heard to help this movement carry forward.”