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Communication and Design

Learning is a team effort, especially during a pandemic

Suzanne Winch showcases how The Chang School’s support helped her succeed academically during a pandemic.

I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me that 2020 would be the year toilet paper would be highly coveted, or that we’d see security guards posted at stores to limit purchases of frozen peas and chicken thighs. The last eight weeks have turned all our worlds upside-down as we settle into our new, or temporarily new, normal.

As a mother of three, wife, full-time employee, and student at The Chang School, my daily schedule was already a whirlwind. Still, when COVID-19 raised its ugly head, my strained calendar became nothing short of organized chaos.  

Nothing prepared me for the day I would explain to my boys that they could be fined for playing soccer in the park, or that they might kill our elderly friend down the street if they got too close. Each day, my husband pitches his clothes into the washer and jumps into a disinfecting shower before even saying “hello” to us. COVID-19 disrupts every aspect of our lives. Long gone are the days of the kids coming home tired but satisfied after their day at school. They miss their teachers, their friends, and the activities that once filled their days. Now they spend hours at home with Mom, who, on top of her career and their schooling, is also trying to complete a new learning path of her own.

To be honest, I never would have registered for continuing education classes if I’d known I would be completing my final assignments and exams at the height of a pandemic. But, in a time clouded by fear and angst, I’ve found comfort in the educational community. Within days of news of national lockdowns and layoffs, The Chang School and its teaching staff stepped up in a show of support for students that I found genuinely astounding. Had it not been for their deep concern and kindness, I likely wouldn’t have finished my semester.

The pandemic affects us all differently. We have our own concerns and fears. Friends and colleagues have confided they felt unaccomplished over the last two months. But, to me, doing your best when feeling your worst is itself a triumph. If you stayed home when asked, helped when needed, and persevered when you thought you couldn’t, then you’ve already accomplished great things at a time when society needed you most.

I’m very proud to have completed my courses this semester, despite the additional challenges thrown my way. The amazing instructors teaching my program were there to help us adapt to a situation far beyond our control. I’m so thankful for the way The Chang School and its staff responded with consideration for students. Had I been forced to decide between my studies and my responsibilities at home, I’d have walked away from last semester. Instead, I was able to be there for my family, meet my professional obligations, and finish my term successfully. 

About The Author

Suzanne Winch is a Communications Specialist for a not-for-profit organization, registered in the Certificate in Public Relations.