May 06, 2020

There’s a lot to love about WPI, but one of the best aspects of our community is the fact that everyone brings something special to the table, most recently when it comes to dealing with the current pandemic. Much of what we’re focused on are long-term projects, but just as important are pieces of advice on how to take things day by day. From adapting to a new work-from-home environment to checking in with friends and family and letting them know you’re thinking of them, WPI staff members share some tips for faculty, staff, and students alike as we continue to work through this together.

  • Kindness to All—Including Yourself: Amidst all the changes we’ve seen over the past few months, one thing’s for sure—our current situation is not normal, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. “There’s so much more going on right now than any of us can control,” says Matthew Barry, assistant director for community development at the Student Development & Counseling Center. “When we focus on that, on how much is out of our control, we can feel disempowered, depressed, and frustrated.” His advice? Focusing on what you can control, and remembering that you’re not alone. “We’re all going through this together. There can be a great sense of unity even in our isolation when we remember this is a challenge we’re taking on as a human race, not just as our own individual selves.”
  • An Apple a Day: One of the most prevalent things on our minds nowadays? Staying healthy. While director and nurse practitioner of WPI’s Health Services Regina Roberto says that can be achieved by following guidelines from public health officials and maintaining balanced schedules to keep our immune systems strong, she’s got one more thing to add: “Reach out to others in need, virtually or safely otherwise. Having a purpose to help others will go far in getting us all through this challenging time.”
  • Walking on Sunshine: Spring weather is finally starting to arrive, and it looks like it’s here to stay (knock on wood)! While nothing beats fresh air, it can still be easy to forget to carve out some time to spend outdoors (with the appropriate face coverings, of course). Director of physical education Lisa Moreau shares the importance of getting outside, even if it’s just for a short walk or a minute to decompress with a tip that’s applicable to students, faculty, and staff alike. “Exercise is a great way to stimulate the brain,” she says. “... if you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed, don’t reach for that energy drink, get up and move!”
  • The Final(s) Countdown: April showers may bring May ... finals. Transitioning D-Term to remote learning was quite the feat, but as we move into finals week, stresses may be even higher than usual. Studying’s a given, but what else can students do to prepare? Assistant dean of student success Paul Reilly has an idea: “Continue taking care of yourself holistically,” he says. “Eat well, get appropriate sleep, and take breaks during study time so you can recharge. Also, keep reaching out to members of the WPI community if they can assist you in any way. We’re here to help.”
  • Treat Yourself: We get it—we love pizza and pasta as much as the next person, but we can’t survive on that alone. “Empower yourself during this challenging time by how you nourish yourself,” says registered dietician Shavaun Cloran. She recommends a variety of healthy snacks (trail mix, yogurt with seeds, nuts, and fruit, and homemade smoothies and spreads) and whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, and oats) to keep us full and healthy. However, she also knows how important a good comfort meal is in getting us through this. Her advice? “Plan sensible portions throughout the week to satisfy that important part of you.”
  • A Job Well Done: We’re all getting used to a new way of not just living, but working, which is why associate director of operations Bailey Rand says it’s important to keep work environments and habits as close to normal as possible, both to aid in our own productivity and to set a good example for students. “Professional attire and a consistent workspace go a long way,” she says. And for students who are anxious about their future job prospects? Associate director of co-op and career services Amanda Laungani has some words (and stats) of reassurance: “Companies are still hiring,” she says. “There’s an 86% positive sentiment in the market for full-time offers, and a 70% positive sentiment in the market for internship offers.”
  • Get Lost (in a Good Book): Reading can go a long way in offering an escape (not to mention a good story), but what do you do if you’re feeling too overwhelmed to tackle hundreds of pages? WPI’s librarians have an idea: a book of poetry. “You don’t have to read it all at once. You don’t even have to finish it. You can pick it up and read a poem or two when you want a short break from everything.” Looking for ways to start? They’ve got you covered there too—check out their Poem in Your Pocket Day guide for poetry and eBook recommendations.

-By Allison Racicot