All throughout this health pandemic and times of civil unrest that we are living through, SUNY students across the system are still finding ways to flex their leadership skills. Learning of these efforts has made us find stories that shed light on all of our students’ good work in unusual times. With our SUNY SAIL Institute, we will have found individuals and stories that are built around SUNY student leadership during a pandemic that we will be sharing through the summer. Topics will include:
For our next student, we turn to Monroe Community College to learn how Hunter Crawley is continuing to help students understand the health concerns around COVID-19.
As I sat through Syllabus Week for the Spring 2020 semester, I could not help but think to myself that this was going to be a challenging semester. The coursework would be demanding, and it would take a lot of self-discipline to perform at my best while balancing two jobs and a healthy social life. Had my syllabi included half a semester of “Global Pandemic Distance Learning”, I would have thought to myself, “This semester is going to be impossible.” Pandemics and life’s everyday challenges are comically similar in that way, in the moment you think, “Is this even possible?” and suddenly you are coming out on the other side wondering why you ever doubted yourself.
As a student studying in a competitive healthcare program and working as a Resident Assistant at Monroe Community College in Rochester, I had a unique set of skills and the platform to help educate students and residents throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many students, including myself, were feeling stressed and anxious given all the unknowns; however, the best defense against ignorance is knowledge. During my Fall 2019 semester in the Radiologic Technology program I learned about the cycle in which diseases develop and how people can prevent further spread. I began educating my residents and co-Resident Assistants on the basic nature of viral diseases, the difference between diseases which are spread by droplets and those which are airborne, and how masks, gloves, and good hygiene can help stop COVID from spreading to others. This new information not only calmed the people I care about, but gave them the power and knowledge to educate and help others.
The weeks went by and it became evident that many of us were not prepared for the demands of online learning. With the help of the entire Housing Staff at MCC we were able to put together socially distanced study halls and tutoring sessions. During these sessions I offered assistance with studying Human Anatomy/Physiology and Biology. Additionally, I encouraged other students to find an organization system that works for them and I provided students with organization tips, techniques, and examples. These skills helped equip other students with the tools they needed to make it through the online semester.
As residents began to move back home, the effects of social distancing were beginning to set in in the residence halls and it felt lonely. One morning, I gathered a few other Resident Assistants and plenty of chalk; we got together and spent a few hours working on a mural outside of our Residence Hall. Shortly after starting, residents began asking if they could help. Others felt inspired by the bright colors and the words “Support Each Other” written in bold bubble letters. That day we were not lonely college students adjusting to a new social norm; we were a community of supportive young adults.
By Spring Break, I had made the decision to continue my semester back home in the Hudson Valley. While home I taught others about how they can help flatten the curve. I reached out to my classmates and friends to ensure they have adjusted well to online learning, and I taught my siblings and cousins how to stay organized in their online K-12 classes.
As I write this blog post I think back on the Spring 2020 Syllabus Week and how challenging I thought this semester would be. I could not have predicted how much more challenging it would be amid a global pandemic. Looking back now, I realize that from the beginning I have always had the skills to thrive this semester. SUNY has provided me with far more than an education; this organization has given me the opportunity to develop leadership skills and utilize those skills to help others. Now that I have come out the other side of this semester, I cannot help but wonder why I ever doubted myself.
Big Ideas is the Blog of The State University of New York, published by the Office of New Media.