College of Business > News & Events > "Portraits in Resilience" From the Driehaus College of Business, Part 3
By Nadia Alfadel Coloma /
May 4, 2021 /
Posted in: Alumni, Faculty, Students /
Our college’s stories of perseverance and lessons learned through the pandemic continue in this third and penultimate installment of our “Portraits” series. Below two undergraduate freshman students share how they tackled their first year as remote learners at DePaul and a staff member and instructor relates his experience welcoming his first child during the pandemic.
During this past year, as many other freshmen can relate, the transition from high school to college has been vastly different from what I expected. It has been a challenge to connect with other DePaul students as I have been living at home in Thornton, Colorado. It has also been difficult for me to overcome my fear of uncertainty, both personally and professionally, throughout the pandemic, especially in wondering when I would be able to finally step foot on campus.
Though it was more complicated to connect with students virtually, my professors have been extremely understanding and helpful in accommodating me and others through this remote era. My professors felt the same struggle with online classes and made me feel more connected in their classes. It will be exciting to finally get to know them in person next year.
Staying at home, I have learned to embrace uncertainty and realize that not everything can be in my control. Trying to make the best of the situation, it was important for me to focus on school and the people I have around me, while understanding that everyone else is going through similar struggles. Now, realizing the significance and value in being able to interact with others, I plan to do my best to meet new people after the pandemic.
Coming into DePaul as a freshman, I was nervous about what to expect, especially since school would be online. Change can be scary sometimes, and with the world taking a huge turn in the wrong direction, it didn't make the transition to DePaul any easier.
However, as my high school accounting professor would say, “improvise, adapt, overcome.” Sure, it was not an ideal situation to be in, but you have to take what's given to you, and give it your best. That was my mentality going into DePaul because I still wanted to have a great freshman year by finding a community I can fit in with, meeting new people and learning as much as I can.
I learned that it's never easy to step out of your comfort zone, especially when you don’t have someone motivating you to try. However, with school being online, it was much easier to message a professor or classmate for help and even get on a Zoom call with them. Also, I was able to join Delta Sigma Pi, where I met a lot of brothers who shared the same mindset as me and who helped motivate me to pursue my degree and take the steps needed to succeed.
DePaul has given me so much to set me up on the right path, and being able to meet so many people along the way has been truly amazing. I want to thank all my professors who have always been available to talk, not only about the curriculum but about anything I needed, from résumé assistance to career advice.
My life has changed dramatically over the last 12 months, and not just because of the shift to working remotely. On Sept. 22, 2020, my wife and I welcomed our first-born son, Jameson. Since then, I’ve transitioned into life as a father without the direct guidance or support of family and friends. But not all was lost as I’ve had the unique opportunity to be there for every moment of his life, caring for him and watching him grow.
This and all the experiences with the pandemic have taught me a greater sense of gratitude for the blessings and opportunities that I have today. While my wife and I sat alone at home watching her body transform through pregnancy, we marveled at the joy of life. While separated from our friends by distance and time, we stayed connected through technology and perseverance. As social justice issues have rocked our country, we’ve found ways to participate without putting our health at risk. With every black cloud, I’ve learned to look for the silver linings and I think that these times have made me a more centered person for it.
Through all the transitions, challenges and changes of the past year,
Dr. Nicholas Thomas, director of the School of Hospitality Leadership, has been incredibly understanding and flexible with my ever-changing needs. In a time when it’s hard to feel a sense of comradery or togetherness, Nick has had my back in each and every project I undertook. With his support I’ve been able to make a year of hardship into a year of growth, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
part two and part four of our “Portraits in Resilience” series.