Ever hear or read sentiments about the “little things?” The simple things? Such thoughts are popular on greeting cards with pictures of flowers. Many would agree that little things are actually the big things. And that simple things are the important things.
For Sophia Jenny, the minutes were the important, little things. She enjoyed those few minutes before a teacher called a class to attention. Those were the minutes she caught up with her friends. Sure, she has a phone. She could text any of them at almost any moment. But, for her, the time spent face-to-face was the best. That’s where the energy was.
When school dismissed in March because of the pandemic, it was those minutes she missed most. NC Catholics recently asked Sophia some questions about her experience.
NC Catholics: What are your interests?
SJ: I love to read. I love to cook. Outside of school I volunteer at Note in the Pocket, which helps kids who need clothing for school.
I used to play volleyball, and I started coaching after I was done with the varsity season at Gibbons. I am on student council … I loved leading retreats and altar serving.
NCC: When you reflect on what you missed about the end of your senior year, what strikes you the most?
SJ: Gibbons does such a great job of creating community. You have so many relationships with people … teachers and friends.
At the end of the year on the last day of classes they do a senior picnic … we go out to the pavilion so it’s outside and everyone dresses up nicely and gets to just talk.
Senior supper where the educators make a meal and serve it and the gym. Graduation and Baccalaureate Mass are major ones as well, but if anything, I would love to just sit in all my classes just one more time. That is, you know, huge.
NCC: How was it switching from a traditional classroom to online learning at home?
SJ: It was really weird … but it worked out. My biology teacher, Miss K, did this Kahoot over Zoom, and she did this one random generator where your name was an animal and an adjective. And mine was a hamster. I forget which adjective was paired with it. It was super lighthearted. My calculus teacher … he has been holding review sessions three times a week. Even though that’s not fun, it was pretty selfless of him. In English we did these poetry presentations … it was fun, and everyone got a chance to talk.
NCC: When you were working through feelings, did you lean on faith? Family?
SJ: For me, God is really present in people, so having relationships with people and still staying connected has strengthened me. God has put all these incredible people in my life to help me. It’s been really nice spending time with my family. We have been watching The Office together. Just finding ways to spend time with family has been great, and my parents especially are always there to listen. And my sister has been helping me in small little ways.
One of my friends dropped off a surprise for me. It was a Friends (TV show) shirt, and it was like “the one where they were quarantined.” She left it with a little note. Just out of the blue.
NCC: Have there been any pleasant surprises about the changes in everyday life?
SJ: I am someone who loves being busy, and I work really well when I am under pressure and have a lot of stuff to get done and get home at 7 p.m. from practice. But it’s been nice to learn new things and read books that have been stacked on my nightstand forever.
NCC: Where are you going to college? What are you going to study?
I am going to UCLA. I am studying neuroscience. This kind of relates to Gibbons … I got off the waitlist, and I talked to at least seven Gibbons educators and like 20 friends debating what I should do cause I had already committed to another school. So it showed how strong the community was even when I couldn’t see them in person. Even though I was stressed out making the decision, it was cool to see how supportive everyone was.