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Santa Clara, we are living through uncertain times. The unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has brought forth unprecedented challenges and extraordinary change. We have witnessed unimaginable loss—of life, jobs, resources, and relationships—but also remarkable achievement. A vaccine for a once-in-a-lifetime virus was developed at record speed. A cultural, historic reckoning over racism converged in protests that spanned the globe. Here in the U.S., our democratic values were tested like never before. And in the midst of it all, life marched on: in new babies and marriages, in countless video calls and Zoom meetings, in distance learning, and in board games, books, and so many TV shows. 

We want to chronicle it all, from the ordinary to the amazing. Help Santa Clara Magazine, in partnership with University Library Archives & Special Collections, record history. Submit your story—in text or audio form, or as original artwork—to this digital time capsule. Share the hurdles you’ve jumped over, the unexpected grace and gratitude you’ve found in isolation, how our collective SCU values of conscience and compassion have been strengthened. Your reflection will be housed in perpetuity in University Archives and provide future generations of historians firsthand accounts of how we got through this time, together yet apart.

What to share

Whether your story is deeply personal and heartfelt or an abstract musing on your day-to-day life, it will help form a clearer picture of how the greater Santa Clara community has endured the pandemic. In order to help archivists better categorize entries for future research, we ask that you answer one of the following five questions. 

  1. How has this extended period of isolation—necessitated by a virus that forces everyone to socially distance, wear masks, and stay apart—affected you?
  2. What has it been like to conduct the majority of your day online? Whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member, or a parent, consider how working remotely has changed your outlook.
  3. Consider a particular injustice and/or inequality in your community or society at large exposed by the pandemic. What meaning did you find in that consideration? 
  4. Did you or anyone close to you contract COVID-19? How did you/they navigate that experience?
  5. Reflect on a specific memory from the past year. Share that moment of happiness, sadness, frustration, inspiration, gratitude, etc.

How to share

Submissions are accepted on an individual basis. Current students, staff, and faculty may upload their story on the submission page. Additionally, to encourage student participation, individual faculty are welcome to include this project in their course syllabus as an assignment, class exercise, or for extra credit. Simply instruct students to upload their entry and email SCM Associate Editor Lauren Loftus (lloftus@scu.edu) indicating they’d like a copy of their story emailed back to them as proof of submission, which may then be turned in for credit.

Review our Submission Tips for how-to guides on recording stellar audio, writing effective short essays, and digitally capturing and sharing original artwork.

Here are some additional ideas to boost creativity and get you in the storyteller mindset.

  • Have your feelings or perspective on the pandemic changed since stay-at-home orders were issued in March 2020?
  • What plans did you cancel? Were you disappointed or relieved?
  • What has been the single greatest change you’ve experienced in the past year?
  • What has been the biggest surprise? (For example, is there something you miss greatly that you didn’t realize you’d miss; or perhaps something you’ve found great joy in that surprises you?)
  • What has been your biggest source of gratitude? Where have you found support? Where have you found grace?
  • How have you handled the transition to an indefinite work-from-home situation? (Do you love the freedom of not being on a strict “on-the-clock” schedule? Do you hate it? Do you miss in-person meetings? Do you prefer Zoom?)
  • If you’re originally from somewhere outside Santa Clara County, how do you feel about the way your hometown/home state or country handled the pandemic? Is it better or worse, in your opinion, than how the Bay Area has done things?
  • Did you try any new hobbies?
  • What was your greatest achievement of 2020?
  • If you are an essential worker, what does it feel like to work on a mostly empty campus?
  • How has the pandemic affected your or your family’s employment status? Have you lost your job or felt threatened by furloughs? Has the pandemic opened up a new type of work for you? 
  • For Class of 2020: What was it like to unexpectedly finish your senior year online?
  • For Class of 2024: What has it been like to conduct your first year of college online? 
  • What has your experience with housing on campus or around campus been like during the pandemic? Did you have to leave your dorm suddenly in Spring 2020, or are you using emergency housing? 
  • Are you excited to get the vaccine, or are you skeptical?