Class of 2020: Meeting Uncertainty with Agility and Resilience
At the beginning of this year, I chatted with my friends about the semester ahead and what we would accomplish. We had dreams of planning amazing events, studying on the Theophilus Tower Lawn on the first sunny days of spring and walking across the stage to collect our diplomas. I never pictured my last day on campus being the Friday before Spring Break. I packed up my things thinking there was no way I would remain at home for the rest of the semester, and yet I returned to campus only to pack up the rest of my belongings from the Living Learning Communities residence hall.
I always enjoy returning to campus after Spring Break because of the exciting events such as UIdaho Bound, Parent and Family Weekend and Finals Fest. For the past two years, I worked for Vandal Entertainment and the Residence Hall Association planning some element of these events. Having all in-person events canceled for the semester and switching to a virtual format was a strange experience. My meetings were held via Zoom, events moved online and I recorded radio shows for KUOI and edited them from my family’s home in Lewiston. However, I adapted quickly and am proud to say I planned the most popular student event of the semester: a live Zoom Q&A session with John Finlay, one of the subjects of the wildly popular true crime documentary miniseries “Tiger King.”
Outside of events, I completed my degree in history and, with the help of Rebecca Scofield, assistant professor of history, finished my capstone research on the royalty system of gay rodeo and the place of drag queens in rural spaces. Over the course of the year, I interned with her “Voices of Gay Rodeo” project for which I traveled to Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, to collect oral histories, and then transcribed and edited the recordings remotely to get them ready to publish online. Finishing up a research paper without physical access to the library was quite difficult; fortunately, I was able to capture in my research my experience at gay rodeos.
My last semester at the University of Idaho did not go the way I expected it to, but I never stopped feeling the love and support of the Vandal Family. Friends, professional staff and professors ensured the virtual semester was a success.
As for the future, I hope to never have to work from home again, because I missed working directly with people. I also look forward to returning to campus as an alumna and supporting the Vandal Family.
Saraya Flaig '20 of Lewiston was one of only 40 undergraduates nationwide appointed to the Library of Congress Junior Fellows summer intern program for 2020. She worked remotely with the Signature Programs Office to consolidate information and provide recommendations for the National Book Festival. At U of I, she served as director of programming and traditions for the Residence Hall Association, received the Guy and Grace Wicks Memorial Award and the Alumni Award for Excellence, served on several committees and appeared on the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences' Deans List many times.
By Saraya Flaig ’20
Published in the Fall 2020 issue of Here We Have Idaho.