The 2020-2021 academic year will go down in the history books like no other. But Alhamdulillah, we have adjusted and made life work. Just as in most other aspects of life, Chaplaincy at UCLA went virtual. Not only did students have to take their studies online but all extracurricular and social activities took place virtually as well. UCLA’s MSA rose to the occasion and took all of their programming online starting from the Year Opening Banquet to community engagement programming, religious programming and general social hangouts.
Very few students chose to live in the university dorms or off-campus housing since there have been no class offerings on campus. This has brought about its own set of challenges. Many students struggled with the stay-at-home orders and balancing academic demands while living at home. Many students’ difficulties were a result of this dynamic and reached out for Chaplaincy services so as to gain insight as to how to best cope with their new living/study arrangements. Many freshman students have experienced their own unique struggles due to being “thrown into” without the traditional support systems to assist them into their academically rigorous transition. Although quarantine and its implications has proven to be a large stressor among many students, another segment of the student population expressed a level of comfort in not having to be a great distance from their family.
Chaplaincy has been an important safety net and support system for many UCLA Muslim students trying to make the best of their situation in one of the most difficult times.