Daniela Gutierrez

How did you feel when everything began shutting down and the pandemic hit the U.S. hard in 2020?
       Reflecting back into how I felt when the pandemic first hit, I can truly say I was confused, a bit scared, and most definitely startled. I don’t think I realized at that time how serious this was going to change my future plans for the next two years and also what it would make me create out of my life. The first thing that popped to my mind was how all the stores were running out of supplies! Truly something out of a movie. I do want to mention though, I also felt strangely centered about two to three months into the lockdown. A sense of relief I guess I should say, it was finally a moment where all of us in society were in the same place and I didn’t have to worry about my next step but in fact just be able to relax with no judgment.
What was it like starting as a freshman at SDSU all online and having to adjust to all the changes made as a result of the pandemic?
       I started the end of my sophomore year during the pandemic and am now a junior still doing my education online through SDSU. Truly the transition from having to be in person to on a laptop twenty four/seven was not the worst case scenario for me. Although I know that wasn’t everybody's luck through these unfortunate circumstances, it was definitely something that positively contributed to my life. Of course there were very troubling days for example, having to work in an environment with family around, internet complications, and sometimes lack of motivation… The experience in itself taught me to be more disciplined, adapt to my surroundings, and most of all make the best out of the situation I’m in. I think at this point I’m more nervous going back to how it used to be since it’s been so long that I’ve been in an actual classroom. It’s an interesting dynamic that the pandemic has brought to my life when it comes to my education now.
What inspired you to start your baking business? And, what was it like running the business during this difficult year?
       What inspired me to start my baking business was honestly me losing my job and my unemployment getting cut off. It’s a brutal response but it's also the truth. Before COVID-19 hit so heavily, I was working as a cashier in a chocolate store. As soon as the first lockdown began a ton of stores were beginning to go out of business and unfortunately the store I was working at was one of them as well. Once I was able to gain unemployment it sort of hit me like a truck on how I could bring back my baking business. I started it when I was around the age of fifteen but stopped as soon as I got into college to focus more on school. With the freetime I now had and also including not having a job I realized it was a perfect recipe to start up again. I’m grateful to say it has not been challenging but in fact so much busier than you'd expect! It makes me happy knowing my baked goods are cheering others up and I one hundred percent believe that’s why I’ve had the success that I’ve reached so far.
Were you or your loved ones severely impacted by COVID? If so, how did that impact you?
       My dad and brother in law were the only two people in my family to catch the virus. They both thankfully recovered quickly but it was really scary in the beginning because one of my sisters friends dad had passed away from COVID. So just thinking of the possibility of them being gone brought a lot of fear to our family. As I mentioned though, they were sure to quarantine themselves as soon as they came out positive and we all remained our distance until they recovered. I also have family who work in San Diego hospitals and my brother in law who was one of the construction workers assigned to build more hospital rooms for COVID patients. As far as we are now, our worries and nerves are so low when it comes to them going to work. A year ago from today though the amount of anxiety we had for them to go to work everyday was something that I never want to experience again.
Is there anything else you want to process and/or write about in regards to your experience this past year?
       I want to say that as much as this past year has been a whirlwind, I’m truly so grateful for what it’s brought me. I don’t think I would have gotten to know things about myself as much as I do now without the time we had given. The drive that started me to start my business again is one that I would never re-do and honestly everything really does happen for a reason. My heart is heavy for those impacted differently and I just hope through it all we’re able to gain peace again.