The Student Movement


Looking Back

Interviewed by Lauren Kim

Photo by Nathaniel Reid

What a year! There are so many memories and new experiences from our student body. A variety of additions to this campus, as well as events that were widely promoted and attended, have created so many great opportunities that have allowed our students to grow and learn. It is important to appreciate how far we have come as a campus and explore new ways to make our campus a brighter and finer place. Let’s take a look at what some students have to say about their personal experience this year, as well as their full student experiences at Andrews. 


In the beginning, it was really nice, with the excitement of starting college and being in a new environment. Once February hit, it got kind of hard, especially mentally. I got the hang of it, though, around March, once I made more friends. 

Overall, I learned a lot. I’m still trying to process what to call it but I know for sure that I did learn and grow throughout this semester. I think I matured more through relationships with people and knowing what good people are as well, because I used to have this image of what good people are, and sometimes you can’t really see or determine that a person is good from just looking at them. 

Lisa Obara (freshman, psychology)


It's been a good year for me. I think if I were to rank it, it'd rank higher than last year. I really think I've grown in my friendships. I'm not sure I could list everything they've done for me but I feel like I really built a community this year and it's made me a better person. I learned to reach out for help when I need it. This year I really enjoyed how the weather warmed up pretty early, even though it went away.

Lia Glass (sophomore, digital communications) 


[This year has been] stressful, trying to stay on top of my projects while maintaining my friendships and other aspects of life. I’ve learned to stay consistent with how I spend my time, which has made me more disciplined. To maintain a healthy mind and not let stress affect who you are. (I like that) It didn’t snow as much as last year.

Joshua Cardenas (sophomore, architecture)


This school year has been amazing! I met so many new and wonderful people, I love the work I get to do in my major, I visited new places, and I saw God's purpose for my life. I have grown more than ever before, especially in my spiritual life. I've given God a true chance and he's made me more mature, loving, caring, and disciplined.

I have learned what I'm supposed to do with my life – my mission: to develop a strong bond with God, and to care for and love everyone around me. I've also learned that I can serve God through my career talents, and I've learned how to be more friendly with others.                              I like that this year I became a lot more confident, and I also like how challenged I was to start my career in a different country.

Heidi Garcia (freshman, architecture)


It’s been an intense school year and I feel like I have grown so much as an individual. Sometimes it’s easy to view a school year as just having academic pressures, but it’s so much more than that. It's a lot to juggle, but even with that being the case, I am extremely thankful that I have had the opportunity to make another year's worth of progress toward completing my degree. I also have made many sweet memories with friends that are absolutely priceless and I will hold close forever. I feel like I have grown to have more independence in regards to life choices and I also have been growing in learning to have an open mind while also setting healthy boundaries. I also have grown in my hobbies and in pursuing new and different creative outlets and relearning to enjoy old ones. I have learned that being alone is actually so chill and enjoyable and I savor the moments I have to myself. While this is true I also have learned to try to soak up the moments I have with my friends and stay in the moment as much as possible. Lastly I have learned to enjoy the mundane aspects of life and savor the golden mornings, the iced matcha lattes, the lovely books, the favorite gel pen, the warm breezes, and all of the wonderful aspects of being alive because sadly they don’t last forever and neither do we.

Savannah Tyler (junior, speech-language pathology)


With work and school, there are bound to be some rough times. These beautiful experiences and quotes from our diverse student population helps us grow as a campus. Additionally, a special class is graduating this Spring. This class has undergone Covid in their undergrad and has made it out alive! I asked some seniors who are graduating this year to look back at their undergrad and let us know how their experience was with the world wide pandemic. 


It was difficult being a freshman because a lot of the usual activities that they do for freshmen were shut down and it obviously wasn't possible to talk in large groups, so I didn't really get the typical college experiences in the beginning of my undergrad that most people talk about. Having masks in class made it hard to connect to teachers and classmates too, and as restrictions were lifted, I think the quality of my classes also got better. [they were] definitely necessary measures for covid, so I can't complain too much, but it was pretty crazy.

Grace No (senior, English)


I technically wasn't at Andrews for most of Covid. I started my freshman year in the fall of 2020 at another Adventist institution, which promised to hold in-person classes but switched to online at the last minute. I decided to go anyway, and ended up taking classes online while on campus. It was probably one of the worst experiences in my life. Many of the people there already had established friend groups or cliques, and people seemed wary of getting close to other people, both by physical distance but also in conversation. I ended up transferring to Andrews in the spring of 2022 due to mostly financial reasons, and although the pandemic was winding down, Covid policies were still in place. In looking for Adventist community, there is a larger proportion of the student body that is Adventist as compared to my previous institution, but I honestly didn't feel a huge improvement. In general, people at Andrews tend to be socially cold and form impenetrable ethnic cliques, and the combination of being new, a transfer in January, and the tail end of Covid certainly didn't help. All of that requires a lot more intentionality to make friends, and as an introvert, even a social introvert, that demands more emotional energy than I have sometimes. Now looking back at the 2.5 years I've spent here, I've slowly made social and professional connections, but I've never truly felt a sense of belonging at Andrews; it has never felt like home to me. People always say that you can always find what you're looking for in every place you go, but in my experience, that's simply not true.

Joey Shui (senior, data science)


Even though things weren't as strict during the 2021-2022 school year, there were still a lot of challenges about starting college at this time. For one thing, everyone had to wear masks at all times, which made it a little more difficult to connect with people as a new student. Clubs could finally host some events again, but there were a few annual events that still weren't allowed to happen, or happened with modifications, so I still didn't find out about them until my second year of college. There were also resources available to students that, because of the increased restrictions of 2020-2021, no second-year students knew about. Also, there were stricter quarantine rules, which is understandable, but it caused me to have to take my final exams my very first semester online.

Melissa Moore (senior, English and nutrition) 


I believe I was better off than most students during the Coronavirus pandemic, primarily because of my previous educational background. I was homeschooled through 9th grade and was very familiar with online education systems and the self-discipline required to complete digital work. My biggest challenge was how some faculty members reacted to the pandemic. Some instructors managed the transition to online learning well, but others seemed to struggle, leading to a less conducive atmosphere for education. In my opinion, If there is one major takeaway for higher education institutions from the pandemic, better mechanisms must be in place for emergencies. I may not have suffered too many consequences academically, but I know some people whose GPA, life, and more were incredibly impacted by COVID-19, often due to a lack of instructor preparation.

Rodney Bell II (senior, psychology)


For me, I was kinda lucky. I took my student missions year during the first year of the pandemic, so I missed out on the craziness of quarantine, online classes, social distancing, etc. Covid was almost non-existent where our project was (or at least people did not care nearly as much about the virus as people do in the States), so we were able to live life pretty much as normal. We went to church, traveled to packed marketplaces, and interacted in close proximity with people. It was a safe haven from all the chaos that was happening back at home. 

When I came back the following year, some of the restrictions had been lifted, and some still remained. One of the biggest adjustments I had to get used to was performing in a mask. As a music major, I was required to wear my mask during public performances which really annoyed me sometimes. Performing already takes a lot out of me, and wearing a mask really made it difficult to breathe. Other than that, I don’t think any of the other restrictions imposed from the university inhibited me from getting the education I needed.

Tyler Ninalga (senior, piano performance)


Overall, taking a look into the past is helpful in many ways. It helps us appreciate our lives moving forward. Seeing where we have been and what we have gone through to get to where we are is a powerful thing. Looking back on the good times is also a good reflection of who we are today. As Andy Bernard from the Office once said, “I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.”

The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.