Penn Admissions recently shared a community message from President Gutmann and senior university leadership about the priorities and principles guiding scenario planning around COVID-19 for the coming academic year.
Given the global impact of the pandemic, individuals and families around the world are facing many challenges simultaneously. Together, we will all move forward responsibly with the information available with each passing day. Over the last few months, we have seen how many aspects of our lives have shifted, including work, education and how we form community.
As the university continues to formulate a path for the future, and as I think about my children and their own schooling after their virtual learning began in March, I know that education at all levels will look different, not only next year, but for the foreseeable future. During this time of adapting to a new reality, we have all learned lessons on how we can improve processes, broaden access, and increase flexibility. Replicating how things ‘used to be’ simply because that’s how ‘they were always done’ is no longer appropriate in this new reality.
In the workplace, time consuming and resource-depleting commutes around the traditional workday could be replaced by more flexible schedules and working environments. At home, families may now make choices to not overload schedules, so that having a meal together does not require a national holiday. Students may have a greater appreciation for the simple act of being able to go to school each day.
As we all watch the news and understand that we have a long road ahead of us, we cannot defer our lives as we wait for a vaccine and scalable testing. Life does and must go on.
To the recently admitted college class of 2024, there is value and purpose in staying together as a cohort, as a class. You already have a bond as students who wrapped up your senior year in unprecedented times. You will approach this summer with a different mindset and sense of self. In yet another few months, you will not only be ready, but you will also feel a greater sense of urgency to learn and move forward with your education and your life.
Stay the course, together, class of 2024. Life is too short to sit it out on the sidelines.