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Alumni Connections: Coping with COVID

Fall 2021


During the first weeks of the lockdown, Valpo alumni across the country turned to their hobbies and passions to combat feelings of isolation.



It’s about finding God’s purpose for your life. For me, that means serving others in many ways. Making scarves and snuggle blankets for homeless and disadvantaged people lifts their spirits and keeps them warm. It reminds them that someone cares and prays for them every day.


Many hobbies, climbing included, have an incredible power to provide unexpected insights into our day-to-day lives. Economic realities often play a huge part in determining how we spend the vast majority of our time. It is in the hours we have to ourselves, if we are fortunate enough to have them, that we get to pursue activities we find personally meaningful.


Through my network, I was also nominated to serve as a non-scientist member of the institutional review board at The James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the hospital where I was treated [for oral cancer]. Virtual meetings are still occurring as cancer research hasn’t halted amidst the current national climate, and that research is vitally important not only in discovering new treatments for a perpetually growing population of cancer survivors, but also in providing hope to those of us who have faced the disease that one day scientists may yet discover a cure.


As a nurse with a very stressful job, it is imperative to have a space to relax, and caring for my plants does this for me … Cultivating and enjoying plant growth through all the seasons helps to keep summer year-round and lifts my spirits during those colder months. I have also been able to connect with people all over the world who share similar interests and have made some great friends.


Find a hobby that genuinely makes you happy, not just what others are doing or what looks visually appealing on social media. If you’re interested in pursuing something out of the norm or that might be viewed as odd, do it anyway. Our jobs and daily obligations are already mundane and stressful as is. Your hobby is your opportunity to let your real personality open up and breathe. If you come across an opportunity to try something new, go for it!”


More from the Fall 2021 Issue