Being Positive during COVID

The phone call we all dread came - “Mom, I tested positive for COVID.”  My college sophomore was on his way home from college after just one week. In spite of six months of planning, strategizing, and thinking through every scenario on the campuses I worked – I didn’t expect my own child to be one of the first to come home from his college experience. His next words were “Should I just take the semester off?”  (Um… NO!!!)

So, needless to say, COVID has been entrenched in all of our lives since March. And boy, I’m tired of it - as I imagine all of you are, too. But,we must march forward and continue to serve our students. And, importantly, find a way to stay energetic and positive amidst the chaos.

Here are some things to think about:

  1. Choose to be positive.  Life is truly about attitude and perspective. Look for the glass half full not half empty. Previous generations lived through a heck of a lot more difficulties - wars, diseases, and famines. We can get through this.
  2. Have gratitude.  Life’s greatest gift is to appreciate what you have. COVID has reminded us often of what really matters – our relationships. And, on a less serious note, I’m pretty darn grateful for my phone, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hy-Vee aisle online.  
  3. Take care of yourself physically and mentally.  A long walk outside in the fresh air is a great start.Take time to read, write, meditate, pray or reflect. Eat well. You know what to do. You can’t fill anyone else’s bucket if yours is empty. Keep your bucket full.
  4. Be connected even if you can’t be social. My 80 year old mother discovered Zoom and video chat on Facebook (you go mom!). My dad lives in a nursing home, but we’ve been able to have fun conversations even with a window pane between us. Write a letter (what’s that?!). Meet folks outside. You can be social – just in a new way.
  5. Control what you can control.  So many questions are being thrown at us daily regarding changes in work processes, COVID health protocols, home life, etc. The biggest stress of COVID is the unknown. So, work within the areas you know and control. You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control your response. Be okay with saying, “I don’t know.”
  6. Find joy in helping.  When the derecho hit the Cedar Rapids area in August,  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of neighbors who wanted to help each other. People I had never met before showed up with chainsaws to clear fallen trees from our yard. So many folks helped with clean up in the city, served food or donated food and supplies. It reminds us all of the humanity that COVID had forced into hibernation these past few months. There truly is great joy in serving your fellow man.
  7. Take pride in the innovation and creativity that was prompted by the crisis.  Let’s face it – admission offices rocked this! Look at how fast we moved to add virtual tours, Zoom meetings, webinars, remote work, and even test-optional! The great news is that none of this is for naught. We will continue to use these innovations and policies moving forward – all which will help open the doors of college access a bit wider for our underserved students.
  8. Lastly, remember - this too shall pass.  A vaccine will be found. Our lives will be busy with activities. Our campuses will be full of students again and we will all joke at the next Iowa ACAC meeting…“Remember 2020?!”

Footnote:  My son was asymptomatic and carried out the 10 day isolation using his time to take classes online, order GrubHub, do homework, and create more music for his band Gold Revere. Check them out on Youtube, Spotify, and other music outlets. #ShamelessPlug


Terri Crumley is a past president of Iowa ACAC and current Assembly Delegate. She currently serves as director of admission at UNI and serves on UNI’s COVID Response Team. She previously worked at Mount Mercy University where she served on the Pandemic Response Team.

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