Finding Hope and Gratitude in a Difficult Year

iStudent Blog

Published: January 4, 2021 by Leslie Parry

As I welcome a new year, I find myself a bit shell-shocked reflecting back on 2020. When 2020 began, I did not anticipate that I would spend most of the year sequestered at home with two squirrelly preschoolers, trying to juggle family, school and work in the same space, adapting to new routines and mourning old ones. Honestly, I felt 2020 was more about enduring rather than achieving. But my iSchool classes served as a kind of oasis during this time — a chance to connect with other minds, ponder the current role of information in society and focus my attention on meaningful work. While it’s been a challenge to find joy under the combined stresses of the pandemic and the election, as we enter into a new year, I’m also filled with gratitude that I simply made it through. So I asked fellow students at the San José State University School of Information: What did you become grateful for during 2020? What gives you hope in 2021? Here are what our fellow peers shared: 

“Being healthy and happy in unprecedented times gives me hope. Also being able to continue my studies gives me hope during this difficult time.” - Tiffany Wilson,’22 MLIS

“I am grateful that I can still laugh with friends, even when done remotely in separate cars on the phone.” - Lydia Rogers, ‘22 MLIS

“One of the things that I’ve liked seeing come out of this year has been an increase of interest in really supporting our local businesses and the places where I’ve seen community come together.” - Allison Gammons, ‘22 MLIS

“Family, friends, and the internet.” - Sarah Wilson, ‘23 MLIS

“I’m grateful for my family and good health. I try to hold onto some hope that people will rise above our differences, show compassion, and commit themselves to the common good.” - Kelli Roisman, ‘21 MLIS

“I am most grateful for the people my children are becoming. They are kind, helpful and thoughtful.” - Kindra Lee, ‘22 MLIS

“My partner and kids, drawing, and music.” - Natasha, ‘22 MLIS

“Family’s health, no deaths in my family, both my husband & I have jobs. :) I hope that folks who have found more time to connect with folks will continue to do so.” - Maria McCord, ‘22 MLIS

“I’m grateful for being enrolled in this program online, that my parents and our pets are healthy, for the coming vaccine, for the fact that Trump got ousted, that takeout is delicious and that I’m overall healthy myself.” - Kathy Richers, ‘20 MLIS

“Grateful that there is a new administration with a President that is competent and will listen and trust scientists.” - Dominique Dozier, ‘21 MLIS

“I’m most grateful that the MLIS program is online so I did not experience the frustrations of many other students and faculty who had to switch to online learning on a dime. What gives me hope that 2021 will be better is that my local radio station KCRW announced a new morning music host – not just one host, but two, which is a first for the station, and they are both POC, also a first for the station’s morning show. I can’t wait to start my mornings with Novena Carmel and Anthony Valadez!” - Alison Quirion, ‘21 MLIS

“Grateful to have a job, creative outlet, and a home.” - Molly Pearlman, ‘22 MLIS

“Spending time with my two nephews. Because they are too young (2 & 3 years old) to completely understand and grasp how the world is affected and going with COVID, it somehow makes me hopeful that the world will get better for them.” - Kimberly Morales, ‘23 MLIS

“I am grateful for being able to have a stable job and attend grad school at the same time.” - Samantha Jean Sumampong, ‘22 MLIS

“My family and friends.” - Jenelle Klavenga, ‘21 MLIS

“My family’s love and resilience. We’ve stuck together through really hard times, and love and appreciate each other even more now. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing husband and son.” - Jess Larsen, ‘24 MLIS

“I am thankful this year has allowed me to start this program and provided an environment to get accustomed to working full-time and attending school.” - Jade, MLIS student

“I am grateful for my boyfriend. Even on stressful days, spending time together is always something I look forward to.” - Daniela Castrillo, ‘23 MLIS

“I am grateful I got to start school this year. I am hopeful for new job opportunities in 2021 since I have been unemployed most of 2020.” - Angela Brooks, ‘23 MLIS

“Family.” - Rachel DeBoer, ‘23 MLIS

“I am grateful for how lucky I am.” - Stephen Yuen, ‘23 MLIS

“I am grateful that my family and I are all healthy. None of us have lost our source of employment and I graduated this year with my MLIS.” - Sherrie Boyd, ‘20 MLIS

“I am grateful for my health! Graduating from the MLIS program gives me hope.” - Sophia LaMonica, ‘20 MLIS


As members of the SJSU iSchool community, we’re used to forging connections, offering support and pursuing our goals in an increasingly virtual world. I’m grateful that despite the mounting challenges we’ve continued to be there for each other. Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay focused on the work ahead. Here’s to a brighter year for all of us.


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