In March, when the threat of COVID-19 forced Emerson, and much of the world, into lockdown, many of us thought life would resume again in a few weeks. Nine months later, we soldier on as we continue to live through this historic global pandemic. COVID-19 has upended nearly every facet of daily life, often with devastating effects. As of November 2020, more than 240,000 Americans have died. Record numbers of Americans are unemployed. Mental health issues are spiking. And as we head into the winter months, many worry about another virus surge and resulting lockdown. 

And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. There have been some silver linings to come out of this pandemic. Expression checked in with Emersonians to see how they’re faring and what the global pandemic has meant for them. 

“I realized Zoom is a very flexible tool, so, in a way, it was a really interesting challenge for me. [Teaching online] caused me to rethink curriculum…it’s much easier than I thought it would be. People want to be in community with each other…your sense that someone else wants to be in community with you helps.” 

Bethany Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Performing Arts 

“I’ve come to really appreciate the time I get to spend with my family when I don’t have a 1.5-hour commute each way, and I think my family has grown closer than we were before because we are all trying to cope with the pandemic together.” 
– Jenn Williams, Head of Archives and Special Collections, Iwasaki Library 

“The first semester of sophomore year—right now—has actually been my favorite semester here at Emerson. They’ve really handled the hybrid learning system very well, and I’m very proud of my school.” 

Anusha Halwai ’23, Media Arts Production major 

“In February of this year, I accepted a new job that I started in March. I’ve worked 100 percent from home since then, which is not how I imagined things going when I accepted the role. The work is engaging but not stressful, so that, coupled with the pandemic, has provided me with an opportunity to focus on my writing projects.” 
– Seth Andrea McCoy ’95, Executive Assistant, Rubius Therapeutics 

“Professionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to run my business remotely for some time, so there weren’t as many logistical hurdles…If anything, the pandemic has helped reiterate the advantages of having a distributed team, and it sort of put to bed any lingering thoughts that one day we should centralize everything geographically. I get the sense a lot of businesses that weren’t remote are now doing the same calculus.” 
– Greg Nichols ’11, Co-Principal, Truly*Adventurous 

“The biggest positive is being in the Little Building—the fact that we’re here. I have friends on campus whom I would have never met if I was remote. I’ve already networked with people I’ve met here. We need to…[figure out] what can we do now to take advantage of our situation rather than hoping things will get back to normal.”   

Neiko Pittman ’24, Media Arts Production major 

“My outlook has changed. I’m currently making plans for the future knowing that this is a great time to reflect on next steps career-wise. As of this week, I’ve finalized applications to a few Master of Education in Higher Ed Administration programs as I hope to continue growing my career in supporting students.” 
– Anders Croft, Marketing and Communications Manager, Career Development Center 

“I have felt more connected to the businesses in my neighborhood, and I have been paying double; increasing tips; and giving pep talks to my barber, restaurant owners, and contractors. I was able to increase my charitable giving because I’m fortunate to be gainfully employed. When reading prayers, I feel an emptiness in my heart, and this has awoken me to the importance of my faith community. At the same time, I have never been so disappointed with my fellow Bostonians. The verbal abuse I’ve received and the physical attacks other Asian Americans have suffered reminds me of other waves of anti-Asian discrimination in my lifetime.” 
– Paul Niwa, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism 

“With the ‘downtime’ in the spring, I was able to found a nonprofit called Ally365, an organization designed to help White allies identify how and when they can help in the fight for racial equality and justice.” 

Deion Hawkins, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies 

“My father passed away from COVID on July 14. My brother and I started a movement, #thefridayminute: 60 seconds of silence every Friday for those being impacted by COVID in any way.” 
Carolyn Freyer-Jones ’88, Professional Executive Leadership Coach 

CategoriesFall 2020