Embracing Unprecedented Times

by Jacob Hebda

The past few months have been among the most intriguing and fulfilling of my academic career.

My classes overview business concepts necessary for professional excellence.  An emphasis on management and leadership has fostered interpersonal growth.  A curriculum integrated with real-world context adds an imperative perspective to our learning. 

The consulting projects have been especially enriching.  I spent the summer developing waste reduction initiatives for a locally-beloved nonprofit.  This fall, my group researched healthy buildings for an innovative architecture firm to build a value proposition and marketing case. 

Beyond the classroom, interactions with peers have been memorable already.  My fellow students come from different professions, institutions, and homes.  They have made me a better person through their enthusiasm, dedication, and open-mindedness.

Over the past six or so months, I have repeatedly shared in numerous life-changing experiences.  I say that in spite of the biggest educational challenge in recent history—Covid-19.

Much of our cohort is resigned to the boundaries of computer monitors.  Our phones now not only convey amusing repartee, but critical class-related discussion.  Explaining a difficult concept in-person was hard enough as is, but intermittent delays and frozen screens only make it harder.

Yet I have enjoyed all the aforementioned experiences.  My education has been instructive, varied, and meaningful.  My summer project group was undoubtedly the best team I have ever been a part of.  My newly formed friendships have already been life changing.

We can complain about the situational inconveniences and frustrations but doing so would mean neglecting the positives right in front of us.  Conditions are not ideal, but we need to make the most of it.

And when we do finally refamiliarize ourselves with mask-less conversations, full classrooms, and non-virtual events, it will be all the more satisfying because of this adversity.

My takeaway from this experience has been to enjoy what life gives you.  Saying that is easy, but living it?  That’s a different story.

So, no matter what the ensuing semester brings, I am happy to say I am already grateful for this journey.