Students share what they are thankful for this holiday season

This holiday season will be unlike any other for Cal Poly Pomona students and their families with the COVID-19 pandemic casting a dark shadow over the season and causing many large family gatherings and traditions during Thanksgiving and Christmas to adapt to ensure the safety of everyone. Still, many students were able to look at the positive side and show greater appreciation for the smaller aspects of their lives.

Despite the many challenges, CPP students shared what they are thankful for this fall season.

Joseph Garcia | First-year English student (Courtesy of Joseph Garcia)

“My grandfather had fallen last month and broke his hip. For him, this was very cumbersome as he had been dealing with an array of other medical problems like heart attacks and kidney failure. He spent three weeks in the hospital after his fall, and because of COVID, my family was unable to see him at all during this time. It was nerve-racking to all of us, but especially to my grandmother, who never knew if she’d receive a call saying he had passed away. We just hoped and prayed he stayed healthy enough to come back home and he did for one week. He had come home on Nov. 2 and he had passed away on Nov. 9 because of congestive heart failure. Despite this being a very tough time for my family, I tell myself to look at this situation positively. He was in pain for a very long time and now he is in a better place. I also tell myself to be thankful that he got a chance to come home and spend a week with his family before he passed. Therefore, what my family will be celebrating this Thanksgiving is his memory and his fight to return home and see his loved ones before he passed on.”



Xochitl Solorzano | Third-year mechanical engineering student (Courtesy of Xochitl Solorzano)

“Although this year has brought a lot of hardships to me and everybody else in this world, I am still thankful for many things every day. I’m thankful that through all of this, I am still able to continue my education safely. I’m thankful that I am standing here healthy and safe. I’m thankful that although the pandemic will not be over next year, we will finally have a leader who knows how to lead this country and cares about everybody’s lives and well-being. And I am especially thankful to all of the people working on the front lines saving people’s lives daily.”




Ralph Agbayani | Fifth-year industrial engineering student (Courtesy of Ralph Agbayani)

“One thing that I’m really grateful for is my education. I feel that I am blessed to have access to stable internet and have the opportunity to still be in school during this time. It’s been hard for a lot of people to transition to online learning for both students and professors, so I’m thankful that I’m still able to learn while being safe at home. Another thing that I’m thankful for is my health and safety. I’ve been taking precautions by staying home and only going out when I need to. In my area, I’m glad that people are being safe and my family is being safe, so I feel that I can rest easy every night, knowing that I’m safe and helping lower the curve when it comes to COVID cases.”



Faith Martinez | Second-year architecture student (Courtesy of Faith Martinez)

“I’m thankful that I get to be home with my family for the entire holiday season. Last year was my last Thanksgiving with my grandmother. She passed away just a few months after. I remember flying home Wednesday evening after my last class and being overjoyed when I saw her for the first time in months, albeit exhausted from school and travel and unable to help her with the preparations because I arrived home so late. This year, my mom will be taking over her job of making Thanksgiving dinner and I am so happy that I will be home and able to help.”




Samantha Scott | Sixth-year mechanical engineering student (Courtesy of Samantha Scott)

“I have recently moved out of state, and I am thankful to be able to kick-start my life as I prepare for graduation in December. I’m so very thankful to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and finally reach that goal after almost seven years. My best friend Ariel and I have been on the journey to graduation together for four years and I’m so thankful for our friendship and her support. The pandemic has affected everyone in some sort of way; both my husband and I lost our jobs, but we have been able to spend so much time together which is wonderful. Losing my job isn’t great, but I have been able to dedicate more time to school for the first time in my life, which is a positive thing.”



Leonard Tabora | Fifth-year biotechnology student (Courtesy of Leonard Tabora)

“I’m thankful for my privileges. For me, I value my health, education and being surrounded by friends and family, especially through these tough times. I took all of this for granted before COVID was a thing and being quarantined has literally taught me to take a pause from life to cherish the small things that were once known as normal.”






Kaila Ganzon | Third-year civil engineering student (Courtesy of Kaila Ganzon)

“I’m super thankful for the people I’ve surrounded myself with. As someone who is normally an introvert, I don’t really enjoy spending time with so many people. However, I’m really thankful for the people who are willing to talk to me really late at night when I am having trouble with life. They usually take care of me when no one else is there and there’s no greater feeling than that.”






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