Change is never easy, especially rapid, unexpected change. For many of us UCC students, spring term bears little resemblance to winter. Doing classes online requires a new set of skills and tools to succeed, many of which we have had to learn on the fly. Added to the mix is uncertainty about employment and increased demands from having schools closed and children at home. The challenges we face are significant. Now more than ever it is important to keep focus and encourage each other. To that end, I want to remind everyone of three things.
First, you are not the only one who may be struggling with adjusting to the new normal. Everyone I know at UCC, including all of us here at the Mainstream, has felt the added workload of having our classes unexpectedly moved online. Screen fatigue, low motivation and difficulty learning at the same pace and depth as usual are all things that I have faced this term and I know many other students deal with similar struggles. I have needed to reach out to other students, friends and family to find encouragement and help to keep up with school demands this term. Remember: reaching out and asking for help is not a sign of weakness but strength and is important for everyone at one time or another.
Second, education is still worth the effort even when it is a struggle. Education requires making sacrifices in the present in order to have greater opportunities in the future, and that ideal holds true even now. We are students because we want to increase our skills so that we can serve others better. We can’t afford to lose focus on this goal, even during times of uncertainty and trials.
Third, this term is full of obstacles, but it is also an opportunity. If we can accept the circumstances over which we have no control we can better focus on the things we can control, which includes our attitude and perspective on the obstacles we face this spring. Learning to overcome our challenges through determination, creativity, and teamwork will prepare us for facing difficulties after our formal education is complete.
This pandemic will someday be over but each of us will be changed before the end. By working together and keeping focused we can be prepared to succeed in the post-COVID-19 world.