Students walking at Rowan University in Glassboro. Like students, professors and academic advisers are adjusting to the "new normal." - Photo / Miguel Martinez

Rowan University, like many colleges across New Jersey, has made countless adjustments for the safety of its students, faculty and the community. Here are some notable people who have educated themselves, adapted, became optimistic and put self-care as a top priority.

Carl Hausman, Professor of Journalism

“Well, I’ve adapted but that doesn’t mean I like it,” Hausman said of lifestyle changes following the pandemic. “I’m an extrovert by nature, and I enjoy the commute, the change of scenery, the interaction in the office and in the classroom. Having said that, every time I start to feel personally disgruntled, I pick up a history book. You can open it to pretty much any random page and read about times where people adapted to much worse situations than being chained to a computer screen in their home office.”

Hausman has adapted to the “new normal,” which was challenging for him because he enjoys interacting with people. However, he realizes the situation is worse and harder for many others. This method helps him to stay grounded and optimistic. 

“As to online education, in some applications, I do prefer it. I developed a lot of online classes and material well before [COVID-19] and think online is an important part of the educational recipe,” Hausman said. “It’s not the best steady diet for every student and every faculty member, obviously, and certainly not for every variety of class, but the ability to transact education from any location is, I think, a monumental technological development. Among other things, it opens up opportunities for students who might not be able to avail themselves of the traditional experience.”

Furthermore, Hausman believes being able to do virtual learning from any location is fascinating because everyone doesn’t have to be in the same classroom. Being socially distant yet connected can work well.

“There’s no upside to a pandemic; however, I do look around me and see faculty and students making the new normal work,” Hausman said. “[Winston] Churchill said ‘an optimist sees opportunity in every calamity,’ and he sure as hell was an expert in calamity. I think we’ll come out of this with a better understanding of technology and education, and we’ll look back at how we improvised, adapted and overcame and then we’ll move on.”

Dirk Durossette, Theatre Lecturer

“Personally, the most difficult adjustment I’ve had to make while transitioning to remote learning has been not getting to know my students,” Durossette said. “In the theatre department, we [normally] work closely with our students and spend many hours outside of class working with them on productions.”

Durossette said it’s important to him to have interactions with his students and to get to know everyone. He believes in being able to meet students where they are.    

“I teach Living Theatre, and most of the work in class is group projects where we focus on the collaborative process of making theatre. The energy found in sharing a physical environment with students is lost in this ‘new normal,’” Durossette said. “While I’m attempting to ignite that spark of creative collaboration in this online environment, I do long for the day when students can be together again, moving and communicating in the same space.​”

Alicia Groatman, academic adviser for Edelman CCCA

“The last few months have definitely been challenging times; however, I’ve been practicing yoga and Reiki for self-care over the years and that has helped me immensely to adapt when adversity arises,” Groatman said. “Besides utilizing the tips I’ve learned over the years, I’ve also been participating in weekly Slow Flow Yoga and Yoga Nidra classes through Zoom. That has helped me to stay connected to that holistic community while social distancing, and it’s something I look forward to to get recentered and refreshed throughout the week.”

Groatman finds comfort in self-care treatment to continue doing her activities remotely while maintaining social distancing. Her mindset is to be the best version of herself and to take care of her mind and body. 

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