Gabrielle Donaldson and family.

Gabrielle Donaldson ’23 (pictured with family, second from left), back home in Raleigh, N.C., talks about the changes brought on by the pandemic as part of the series “Postcards From Here.”

Campus & Community

Feeling renewed connection to family and neighbors

3 min read

This is part of a series called Postcards From Here, in which Harvard undergraduates talk about the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gabrielle “Gabby” Donaldson ’23

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Concentration (Intended): Philosophy
House: Dunster

Missing it all

“I miss spending time with and seeing my friends, teammates, coaches, and even my professors every day. I miss the ambiance of our campus and the sense of community that it provides. Harvard is a unique place, and the people that I am surrounded by every single day make it all the more amazing. I miss being able to have lunch with friends, being greeted by Mr. John and his daily jokes in Annenberg, exchanging smiles with Schoolmates who I do not know, walking to and from class, and seeing the sunset over the bridge after [basketball] practices.”

 Show and tell

“My School friends are from various parts of the world and being able to keep in touch with them has made this transition a lot easier. My teammates and I have had a lot of fun keeping in touch with each other by having themed Zoom calls (picture shares, show and tell), joking with one another daily, and having calls or exchanging messages to check in with each other. The springtime is a time where we spend a lot of time together both on and off the court. Being able to maintain connections and our chemistry has been the best.”

Tech support

“Outside of School, I spend a lot of time with family, talking with friends, getting workouts in, cooking, and taking care of technological duties for my church, such as sending out weekly updates and helping members with Zoom.”

Distanced but not distant

“My family is healthy, which I am incredibly grateful for. I have a lot of elderly family members — aunts, uncles, and my grandpa — who I check in on. A good direct effect that we have experienced is being able to spend more time with one another and having more availability to provide encouragement and support for others who need it as well as each other. I have also enjoyed seeing neighbors who I have not seen in a long time, new faces, kids playing outside again and not being stuck to computer screens and phone screens, neighbors taking the time to wave ‘hello,’ yard improvements, and a human connection like I have not seen in a long time. I believe that people recognize the power in selfless unity and togetherness, though we are socially distanced from one another. I see an effort from people to let others know that they are not alone and that we are all in this together.”