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Campus & Community

One Year, One Lesson

Exactly a Year Into the Pandemic, Students, Faculty and Staff Share Their Funny, Poignant and Hard-Earned Insights

By Lauren Brown

GIF of person riding a bike through the seasons

Animation and graphic by Valerie Morgan

As one full year of pandemia passed by, many of us gained insights about our work, relationships and outlook. And in one Terp’s case, the lesson learned was how to ride a bike.

It’s better to check the takeout order at the restaurant than return home a burger short.

Keeping track of what TV shows are on what streaming services is hard.

There might be such a thing as too much together time. 

One year ago today, as the death count from COVID-19 climbed to 4,291, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, the first caused by a coronavirus.

More than 2.6 million fatalities, 117 million cases and countless missed outings and gatherings later, here we are, amid adaptations, frustrations and (finally!) vaccinations that promise a return to something close to normal.

In that time, we’ve all discovered a few things that we never wanted to—and a few that we’re glad we did. For this unwelcome panniversary, we asked Terps across campus to tell us one lesson they’ve learned in the past year. Here’s a sample of what they said.

​​I learned during quarantine with my two high school teenagers is how much I love spending quality time with them and how much I will miss them when they go to college or work.—Yen Lin, financial business manager, College of Information Studies. I learned during quarantine that I am more of a hugger and hand-shaker than I ever realized before.—Brendan Hartlove ’21 (journalism). I learned not to downgrade other people's realities until I've at least had a taste of them.—Nancy Goslin, Architecture Program administrator. I learned that my significant-other was right all along: I actually can do my work remotely if I really have to…—Elizabeth Hinson, associate director of executive development, School of Public Policy. I spent more time outside and finally taught myself how to ride a bicycle.—John Dutan ’23 (mechanical engineering). The arts will weather a global pandemic, racial reckoning and economic crisis by reimagining audience and artist experience, while confirming that nothing replaces live performance.—Erica Bondarev Rapach, acting director, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. I learned how interdependent we are, not just among humans, but among all species. The planet is a small expression of oneness. Love thy neighbor!—Clara E Irazábal Zurita, director and professor, Urban Studies and Planning Program. I've learned that it's okay to be uncertain about the future—but being hopeful always helps.—Catherine Nguyen ’22, (government and politics), MPP ’23. Listen to the most reputable source for correct information. Then trust your gut. Don't panic. Continue to live and love and find the positive!—Debbie Yeagley, administrative assistant, Department of Geology. I learned that random hallway encounters with faculty, students and staff are essential to my work and make me a better professional at all levels.—Natasha Andrade ’05, M.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’12, associate chair for undergraduate programs and senior lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I have learned that a healthy work-home balance is a necessary part of enjoying the best of what life has to offer.
—Alison Jovanovic, Social Studies Education Program coordinator, College of Education. I think we all learned how to adapt and use Zoom to our advantage. For me it meant having the opportunity to virtually recruit players all across the country in the same day. Beyond that, I really valued the extra time I had with my family.—Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Turgeon. Thank God I decided not to buy that condo. I don't know how my college-student son and I would've kept from falling over each other.—Constance Mitchell Ford, lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Caring for the wellbeing of others is just as important as caring for myself. Without one, I cannot do the other.—Matt Rodriguez, doctoral student, Department of Family Science. By living through this pandemic, I have so many more moral dilemmas to incorporate into our seminar on ethics and public administration.—Joan Dubinsky, lecturer, School of Public Policy. I learned during quarantine that our Maryland community can do anything when we lean in, rely upon, and support one another. I made the right choice when I joined UMD in January 2020.—Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs. I learned that like stand-up comedy, teaching is best before a live audience.—Sarah Oates, professor and senior scholar, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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