The COVID-19 Semester is Over: Now What?

Three ways to move forward

It’s June 2020, and we just emerged from an unprecedented semester at the small midwestern university where I work as an Assistant Professor and Instructional Designer. Our semester-end faculty meeting brought together 90 professors who had just ended a semester of teaching they never in their wildest dreams could have imagined.

We discussed serious topics: what Fall 2020 might look like for our campus, how we can prepare for an unknown future, what impact budget cuts could have on us, and our determination to continue to offer the quality education we are known for.

But once we covered those bullets on the agenda, the group began expressing concern that we not let this moment pass without taking advantage of the opportunities it has given us.

A professor said: “Someone should be publishing what we learned from this.”

Another confessed: “I didn’t think I could teach remotely, but it went surprisingly well.”

And with noticeable pride several commented that their students rose to extreme challenges and were successful.

Les Brown, motivational speaker, author, and American icon, known for reaching audiences with motivational speeches about human potential and new heights of achievement, has said:

“Dealing with life means taking advantage of each new challenge as an opportunity to learn and accomplish something new.”

So as we settle down from the crazy ride into the unknown that for most of us included remote teaching, a universal pandemic, increased family responsibilities, and sickness that came into, or very close to, our homes, I encourage you to practice three ways of preparing yourself for what comes next.


Take time to think about what just happened. Unpack each thought. Place the insights and truths in the categories where they belong. Write them down. Save them in a space where you access them quickly—when you or someone you know will need it.


Find ways to describe what just happened. Relate it to the human struggle. Tell the story. Acknowledge the big and small ways your faith guided you. Give others the credit for something good that happened. Make this moment in time memorable by telling what it was like for you. Talk to someone about it all. Give it a life.


Dwell on the ways this pandemic is moving you forward. Decide to keep walking through opening doors and peering through open windows. Do this thoughtfully—no one is forcing you. This is your incredible opportunity to bring something good from universal struggle.

Famous American writer, William Arthur Ward, said: “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”

Whatever we do, may we not let this moment pass without digesting, expressing, and growing. We don’t want to miss the sunrise.


Inspirational Words of Wisdom. (n.d.). 138 Les Brown quotes. (n.d.). William Arthur Ward opportunities are like sunrises if you wait too long you miss them.

Author: Gwen Hersha, Assistant Professor & Instructional Designer

Gwen is fascinated with teaching and learning and loves designing ways of "doing it better." She finds joy in the everyday practicality of life: writing, teaching, gardening, and trying new things.

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