It’s good to be back.
After more than a year of learning remotely, posting in seemingly endless Canvas discussion groups, and trying to ignore the inevitable background noise coming from that classmate who always forgot to mute themselves, thousands of students returned to campus last week. While there are still many who feel safer taking classes virtually, this semester feels like the first step in our return to college life as it should be.
The last 18 months have been difficult for all of us. The pandemic has taken so many lives, leaving millions of people to mourn. It has left millions more without work — many of them struggling to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. Isolation, loneliness and despair have taken their toll on our mental health.
As the cascading crises of the last year escalated, it seemed as if our very ability to connect as human beings would be taken from us, too. I became acutely aware of how divided we could be. How easy it is to let empathy slip away. To let intolerance win out and view others with antipathy and disgust.
From the safety of our homes, it was easier than ever to surround ourselves with people who share our beliefs — and shun those who do not.
If the past year has been a steady drumbeat of increasing anxiety, the first week of school was a reminder of just how much we have in common. During my time at UVU, I’ve learned just as much from my fellow students as I have from my professors. They’ve taught me how to respectfully disagree with others’ opinions, how to look at the world through a different lens, and they’ve shown me that everyone is going through something — whether we notice it or not.
In a time when so many leaders urge us to exclude and diminish the experiences of our peers, or exhort us to aim our proverbial “musket fire” at those with the strength to be different, I could not be prouder to be a Wolverine.
The most recent edition of The Review featured a front page headline that read, “There is a place for you at UVU.” Having had the opportunity to speak with scores of students, faculty and staff members from across the university, I can attest that there are multitudes of people striving to make that statement a reality.
Here at The Review, our goal is to help you navigate the uncertain year ahead, to provide cultural and social touchstones, and to enrich your overall experience at UVU. We are committed to doing our part to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment on campus, by highlighting stories of those working to make a difference here.
As the semester rolls on, I urge all of you to meet someone new, try to understand a unique perspective, even get in a respectful argument or two. Because — in my experience at least — UVU is a special place, and it’s our common responsibility to keep it that way.
Bridger Beal-Cvetko is a junior at Utah Valley University where he is studying journalism. He has been with The Review since 2019, where he has covered the UVU men’s basketball team and the softball team during his time as Sports Editor. Bridger has also worked as a producer for ESPN 960 AM. Aside from sports, Bridger is an ardent cinephile, and loves reading fantasy and science fiction novels.