APU seniors reflect on how they’re staying positive despite their final college semester being virtual

Want to hear the full interviews? Check it out on the SoundCloud link above. 


As surreal as it sounds, we’re coming up on a year since COVID-19 caused worldwide shutdowns. Reflecting on how our lives have changed during these tumultuous twelve months can be overwhelming. However, I sat down with three APU seniors that are focusing on the bright side of things. 

Despite the shock that came with their senior year being entirely online, here are the silver linings these APU students have discovered during their final year of college. 


Galvan is a senior communication management major at APU.

Camila Gaona Galvan

Galvan is a senior communication management major at Azusa Pacific. She serves as the President of APU’s Student Government Association.

Q: What was your first reaction upon hearing that the spring semester of your senior year was going to be on Zoom?

Galvan: It was definitely unexpected. I think last semester when I found out it was more of a shock. I spent last semester back in my home country, Paraguay. It was a hard transition for about the first month and a half because I was five hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. My work and all of my classes were later at night because of the time change so it was a big adjustment, but after I got settled, I got to see how great it was to be back at home while doing school. 



Beth Magee

Magee is a senior allied health major and psychology minor at APU. She is one of the team captains of the APU Acrobatics & Tumbling team.

Magee is a senior allied health major and psychology minor at APU.

Q: What’s your major and what are the biggest ways it’s been impacted by moving to a virtual platform? Have there been any unexpected perks of having classes on Zoom? 

Magee: I’m an allied health major and psychology minor and I really front-loaded the first three years of my college education, so I was lucky to have already taken the challenging classes that are really foundational for graduate school.

Academically, I was surprised I was still able to form relationships with my professors. I had one professor I’d been really excited to take and whose class I had been looking forward to for a long time. When going online, I was really afraid I wasn’t going to be able to form a relationship with a professor I had heard such great things about. However, after going to his Zoom office hours and having candid conversations in class, I was able to form a really cool relationship. So, I wouldn’t choose Zoom University over a typical semester, but there have definitely been perks I didn’t expect.


Grace Pruitt

Pruitt is a senior acting for the stage and screen major at APU.

Pruitt is a senior acting for the stage and screen major at Azusa Pacific. She serves as the program director of the student-run organization, Disciples in Action, and is a member of the multi-ethnic leadership scholars program.

Q: Can you tell me about any extracurricular activities at APU you’re involved in? How have those things been impacted since we’ve gone virtual? 

Pruitt: I am in a couple of different extracurriculars, I’m a part of multi-ethnic leadership scholars, which is a scholarship program where our main goal is to create racial reconciliation on and off-campus. We want to make sure we’re equipping ourselves with information that is relevant, diverse and holistic so we can be the most effective leaders possible when it comes to racial reconciliation, which has been a big topic in our current day and age. We want to make sure that you know there are places and students that are excellent resources to go to if you need help supporting yourself and advocating for your family and friends despite the fact we’re not on campus. 

I’m also part of a newly developed student organization called Disciples in Action, DIA for short. We are a collection of students dedicated to making sure student voices are heard and that administration is held accountable for the expectations they’ve set for students. We want to make sure students feel heard and that they know their voices are important. Even though we’re virtual, we’ve been able to adapt really well. We have Zoom community meetings every month where students come, give their opinions and show us what topics or areas we need to shed light on at APU.


Q: Have you done anything or gotten any opportunities that you wouldn’t have been able to if we were on campus? 

Magee: Yeah! I think this year more than ever it really hit me that I’m not ever going to live at home again. I feel like leaving college is a little different than leaving high school because when you leave high school you’re like, “Oh, I’m moving out. I’m going to never see my family again!” but that was not true. I was home every holiday, every summer and would stay for months or weeks at a time. This past year, I’ve realized once I graduate I’m actually moving out, I’m only going to come home for holidays for a week max, and that hit me really hard. 

I’ve learned to be really grateful for the excess of family time that I’ve gotten this year because I would never have gotten that time if it had been a typical year. The timing of it happening right before I move on to the next chapter has been such a blessing.


Q: Has your mindset shifted since the first time you heard your senior year was going to be virtual? If so, how?

Galvan: The first time around, there were a lot of logistical impacts that affected my mindset. I had gone back to Paraguay on a humanitarian flight because all borders were closed at the time, and I had packed one bag without knowing if I would be there for two months or eight months. There were just a lot of crazy things happening at once. 

Also, I didn’t grow up learning how important it is to mourn properly, so I had to deal with that. Brené Brown wrote a book called “Dare to Lead” and has a podcast where she talks about how important it is to “embrace the suck.” In the fall when I heard we were going online, that’s exactly what it was. I was going to be SGA President from thousands of miles away, so much time and preparation had been thrown out the window, and there were a lot of emotional and mental implications that came with it. 

For the spring semester, I felt more like “we’ve done this before,” and because I was expecting it and my hopes weren’t too high, I felt more hopeful and ready to tackle the giant.


Q: If you had one thing to say to your fellow seniors about this situation (of us being Zoom seniors!), what would it be?

Pruitt: This is just one chapter of our lives, so don’t take it so seriously. Yes, it sucks that we might not get to celebrate in the way we wanted, but we did it! Regardless of what background you came from and what it took to get here, we’re proud of you, we see you and it’s important that you celebrate and honor yourself. You’ve made a huge step in your future and that’s something to be proud of. 

At the same time, you’re allowed to mourn and be disappointed that this is how our senior year turned out. If you feel like we didn’t get a lot of the things that we deserved that’s valid and I share those thoughts and feelings. I’m proud of you, I’m happy for you, and I’m glad to see all of us make it out.

So, to all the APU seniors who have had quite the unusual final year, we hope you too have been able to find the little victories, the silver linings and the things that bring you joy in the final months of your academic career. Though we’ve had to sacrifice a lot, we’ve also made history as a student body, a society and a world, and that’s something to be grateful for.