Jessica Bennett, a 2018 Pedrozzi Scholar, is entering her third year at CSU Chico. During her time at Chico, Jessica has witnessed the Chico community go through devastating events. Jessica has been able to turn these tough times into learning experiences. Jessica shares the importance of community and giving back:
Over the course of the two years I have attended college at CSU Chico, I have come to expect the unexpected, but I am so grateful that I am part of such a compassionate community. My Freshman year at Chico was the year of the fires. The tragic Paradise fire was scary and, at times, overwhelming. However from the fire, I had my first experience of the empathy and genuine concern of the Chico community. Donations of clothing, masks, food, water and housing poured in. A few of us in my dorm room got together to donate masks and water to those that had to stay in Chico during the bad air days. Following the fires came the floods and again Wildcats rose up to help those displaced by the fires and anyone else displaced. Not to be outshined, 2019-2020 school year brought on COVID-19. As we learned of the virus in my sociology class in the fall, I had a sense that this may be the next H1N1, but boy did I underestimate this new coronavirus. By spring all classes became online classes, and I was sheltered in place with my roommates. At first, it wasn’t so bad, but overtime, the confinement really does something to the psyche. As a psychology/sociology double major, I understand intellectually how being confined to one area with the same people over time can affect mental health, but to experience it first hand and struggle with it, was unsettling. The CSU Chico community and teaching staff were so supportive. Basic needs such as food and cleaning supplies were made available. Financial services and support could be found, and the teachers were very understanding as far as extensions or modifications for coursework. I had some good conversations with a few of my professors and came out of it with an even deeper appreciation of the people who work and serve the Chico students. With their help, I successfully made it through the spring semester and am currently enrolled in an online summer session class. I look forward to continuing my education at Chico next year. Hopefully, it will be a bit more, uneventful.