Yes, this is real life, and this school really exists. It's pretty cool that the future of higher education could change in a very positive way.
It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.
Yet, here we are.
PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.
After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.
"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."
One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.
Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.
"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."
It's incredible to imagine that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. "The Red Vineyard" sold in Brussels a few months before his death for just 400 Francs.
We're nearly a year into the pandemic, and what a year it has been. We've gone through the struggles of shutdowns, the trauma of mass death, the seemingly fleeting "We're all in this together" phase, the mind-boggling denial and deluge of misinformation, the constantly frustrating uncertainty, and the ongoing question of when we're going to get to resume some sense of normalcy.
It's been a lot. It's been emotionally and mentally exhausting. And at this point, many of us have hit a wall of pandemic fatigue that's hard to describe. We're just done with all of it, but we know we still have to keep going.
Poet Donna Ashworth has put this "done" feeling into words that are resonating with so many of us. While it seems like we should want to talk to people we love more than ever right now, we've sort of lost the will to socialize pandemically. We're tired of Zoom calls. Getting together masked and socially distanced is doable—we've been doing it—but it sucks. In the wintry north (and recently south) the weather is too crappy to get together outside. So many of us have just gone quiet.
If that sounds like you, you're not alone. As Ashworth wrote: