The Spring Semester of 2020 was a challenging semester for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed our lives and caused us to change how we interacted with each other to protect ourselves and our family, friends, and associates. For many of us, this caused stress and moments of cynicism and depression we never experienced before. However, despite the dark cloud, there were still silver linings to the situation.
To figure out what positive lessons one can learn from spring, this reporter went to interview Dr. Ron Madler, Dean of the College of Engineering. Talking with him, he admitted that the sudden chaos of Spring Semester was tough to react to, especially when things changed fast for us around Spring Break. It was a disruption for everyone, especially for students doing capstone projects because we are a hands-on university. However, he noted that he hopes everyone here at ERAU has learned these three lessons.
The first lesson was to learn the ability to adapt and overcome adversity. Dr. Madler believes that the students, especially the capstone students, learned that they could do more than they ever thought they could. In his words, “If you can overcome this, then you can overcome anything.” The second lesson is that we learned how to work in a virtual environment. Learning how to teach virtual classes and be taught in virtual classes was a new challenge for professors and students alike. The third lesson is that relationships matter. At trying times like these, we learn to appreciate our friends, family, and associates.
Appreciating the values of these lessons, Dr. Madler added, “How can we learn these lessons during times of chaos and uncertainty?” Dr. Madler replied that it often depends on the person’s disposition. Optimistic people recognize the lessons quicker and develop them in hindsight. Whereas people who are cynical or “woe is me,” take a while to understand the lessons. Those people are too fixated on the negatives to realize that despite the terrible impact of the current predicament, everyone will emerge stronger in the aftermath.
Although the Spring Semester of 2020 was chaotic, it was not the end of the world. The wisdom that Dr. Madler articulated certainly proves that. There really are positive lessons for every negative situation.