Reflections on Resilience and Determination During the Pandemic
Like nearly all aspects of society, SIU School of Law students, staff, and faculty have experienced tremendous changes over the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We gave them an opportunity to share their experiences, not knowing what type of stories we would get, and we compiled their responses in this Word Art to give alumni an overview of SIU Law’s pandemic response and experience.
In general, their stories are that of identifying the challenges, acting in accordance with the pandemic restrictions and SIU Law expectations, and persevering. Please read a few of our student, staff, and faculty responses in the following anonymous quotes.*
“My favorite part of my job is interacting with students. We miss them.”
“Being a 1L is hard enough. Being one during a pandemic is worse, and worse yet is being a 1L and being quarantined for two weeks after being exposed directly to COVID.”
“Faculty did their absolute best in helping me and my technology issues.”
“In the start of the pandemic, it was the Spring Semester of 2020. The law school made the decision to mandate everyone take pass/fail grades when over half of the semester was already completed including midterms. Since then, we have once again been told how we will be educated and had little to no say in the matter. The great education and connection I made in my first year are no longer available to the incoming students, and it's a shame they are told they have no choice in it. We are all adults in this law school and should be given the ability to make some of these decisions for ourselves.”
“I notified my professors of my quarantine situation and they all responded encouragingly, replying with statements such as ‘just take care of yourself.’ Some even followed up with me afterwards to make sure I did not fall behind during that stressful time. The professors I had truly seemed to put our well-being first in this unprecedented time.”
“Professors have been really great about continuing to make themselves available to students during the pandemic. One of the best parts about SIU Law is the close-knit community feeling that it has, and the faculty and staff have done a great job of keeping up that connection despite the difficulties in doing so when no longer see each other in person.”
“In a time of ever-changing protocols and recommendations, the SIU Law faculty has been consistent and thorough every week of the semester ensuring our protection and safety. In a world where facts and guidelines change seemingly by the hour, and where it's a chore to get the public to abide by the most basic rules to protect the well-being of others, it's been great to have the Law School be such a reassuring force of compliance and understanding. It's easy to see they care about us, as well as our families that are helping us get through this trying time. Comprehending the material has made for some long nights but being at the school has been the easy part. I'm impressed, and thankful, they've made such a comfortable environment during such a sometimes impersonal and cold time.”
“I am impressed by my students. Despite all of the challenges they are getting the job done.”
“While, I would have much preferred to attend classes in person, I am grateful for the other ways I was able to get to know fellow SIU Law students. I especially enjoyed being a mentor for incoming 1Ls. My group of mentees were all students who chose, for whatever reason, to attend classes fully remotely, and at a distance. We kept in touch via an app called GroupMe throughout the semester. I was happy to be support for them as they learned to navigate law school during a pandemic. Their tenacity and grit were constant inspirations for me. Can you imagine a more difficult way to be a 1L? Following their journey through 1L during a pandemic gives me confidence that despite all the challenges the pandemic has added to law student's already heavy loads, SIU Law will continue to turn out ready and able attorneys.”
*Quotations may be edited for length and clarity.