Updated: Apr 17
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash
I hope all is well with you. There is plenty to be concerned with during this challenging moment in time. I decided to stay on the island, but I understand you chose to go home.
Families and friends in the States need support. Their cities are being shut down, quarantined, and placed under shelter. There are estimates of 80,00 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 1000 deaths. We have never experienced anything like this in our lives.
Here in Antigua, my wife and I are adjusting to the pandemic as well. We are homeschooling our children. Yes, the primary schools and many of the government offices also closed to prevent the spreading of the disease. It's been two weeks, and we have three confirmed cases on the island, but the strain on the economy and the way people live their lives is apparent.
Take a look at my family’s full update here:
Despite everything that is happening, I want you to stay focused on your studies. This week, the university rolled out remote teaching. The administration released an exam schedule. Basic Sciences published an updated academic calendar, and the Education Enhancement Department announced online advising appointments.
These academic changes are training you to think and perform during a world crisis. It’s helping you to realize your inner powers of flexibility, focus, and perseverance. I know that you can handle school and coronavirus related stress.
This situation is preparing you for your future profession as a physician who can function during a pandemic.
Please, be patient in this transition from in-person to online instruction. The university is figuring this out as we go along. We want to ensure your education does not suffer as a result of social distance practices and school closures.
Last week, I wrote a blog post where I talked about eLearning in response to the coronavirus. At one point, I described the impact that stress can have on learning. I am copying and pasting a portion of that post here for you to read here.
"Stress influences our abilities to learn. Research has proven that when we are stressed out or concerned about things other than learning, we do not do well in absorbing new information. Negative emotions produce negative learning outcomes.
It is always best to deal with personal and other issues before sitting down to read, watch a video, participate in class, or engage in other learning activities. Putting yourself in a good mood and being mindful of your learning goals can increase the quality of your knowledge and skill acquisition endeavors.
To modify the late legend Bob Marley’s words to fit our conversation, don’t worry about a ting, be happy, and learn more. Emotions influence our abilities to learn.
The way we feel and think are interrelated.
Mindful meditation, prayer, writing, talking with a friend, and exercising are among the healthy options you possess to manage stress. Your goal in alleviating stress to learn should not include ignoring the situation. Acknowledge the coronavirus, do your best to control the fear and other emotions; take a moment for yourself and return to learning."
As these passages from last week’s blog indicate, do your best to transform your emotions into increased focused energy. Being aware of your feelings can help you to perform better in your studies. I want you to allow the chaos of the coronavirus to push you closer to your dream.
Visualize that one day, you will work in a profession where you will cure patients with bodies infected with the coronavirus. Your patients will have challenged immune systems, and because of your medical education, you will know how to respond.
Take care of yourself and your family. I am here for you.