Wednesday mornings mean food at QCC… and lots of it. That’s when Bonnie Coleman,Terry Vecchio, and the amazing Facilities staff head over to the Worcester County Food Bank to pick up (literally) 2000 pounds of food. Week after week they show up and have one hour to load all 2000 pounds onto a conveyor belt, weigh it and load the van. Once the van is full, they bring their catch back to campus to get it ready for students in need.
We know this has been a tough time for our students, as well as the community. When the pandemic struck, many lost their jobs or had their hours cut. They were learning from home, their kids were learning from home and trying to make ends meet. It was like trying to find your way in a strange place with all of the lights out. I think we can all agree it was a learning experience for all of us.
On a typical day, the PTK Honor Society at QCC office is bustling with students. The door is always open to current, former and prospective members; there is always someone there to hear you out and guide you in the right direction. But as the pandemic hit, the advisors and officers of Phi Theta Kappa had to re-think all the ways students are supported in our local chapter and they didn’t miss a beat. Before you knew it there were a series of remote engagement activities and new ways to connect with students in order to provide a sense of normalcy, involvement, leadership, scholarship support, and fellowship- everything our chapter and QCC strives for on a daily basis, pandemic or not.
Early college… what is it and why should you consider it? The benefits range from self-confidence to being more likely to earn a bachelor degree. Where to start… Start with a running start.
Wow...what a difference a few weeks can make! You may have been all set to move into your dorm and begin your fall semester, only to find the college or university you were planning to attend has switched course and is no longer offering in-person classes. There won’t be any campus events, masks must be worn at all times if you leave your dorm room, and the threat of an outbreak feels imminent. College looks nothing like you anticipated, and it seems rather tempting to take the year off. You might want to think twice on this one… taking a gap year is likely a decision that may have more consequences, particularly during a pandemic, than you think.
It’s time to get motivated, set some new goals and have the coffee pot on standby for the late night study sessions because back to school is here again. Sounds easy, right? We know starting college for the first time, or coming back after a long time (or even a summer break), can be challenging. But starting a new semester in college during unprecedented times like these – well, you may have to dig a little deeper.
What now? Pack up and hit the road or wait for a decision? Or a decision to be reversed? Or change course completely and go fully remote. Over a dozen colleges right here in MA have switched their plans, decided not to let students back on campus or in the dorms. It’s time to take a good hard look at what you want out of college, what you chose, why you chose it and if it still ‘looks’ the way you envisioned and still makes sense. And especially if it still makes sense financially. College is a big decision during normal times and the pressure of a pandemic adds even more weight.
For most of us, this is our first experience with a pandemic, social distancing, quarantine and isolation. That’s a lot for people to take in, especially in the beginning when the weather had us cooped up inside our homes staying warm and dry. As the Director of QCC’s mentoring program it was certainly an adjustment for me, as well as the participants on both sides. We had to find new ways to communicate, keep in touch and keep that personal connection we worked so hard to build. Matching mentors and mentees takes getting to know people and building the relationship once we make the match takes time and effort as well. So, like so many others, we turned to Zoom, Facetime, phones, iPads, laptops and whatever else was necessary to keep our momentum.
“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”
-Albert Camus, The Fall.
We have all been inundated with new terms, phrases and rules of interaction as we quarantine and slowly reintegrate activities we previously may have taken for granted. As we acclimate to our new habits (remembering your mask), we also must look at our new ways of doing things with ever-changing rules often have a learning curve. Until then, we continue to figure it out as we go along. One big change has been higher education and how classes are now being delivered.