Finding Your Virtual Groove
April 10, 2020
The job I held previously to being at Drexel allowed me to work remotely. I spent about three and a half years of my five plus in that organization as someone who worked at my home, in a completely different time zone as my team. I would go to campus for super important events and do a good bit of travel on behalf of the University, but for the most part, my day-to-days were spent in my home and by myself.
People used to tell me how incredibly lucky I was to have such flexibility, "hey, no commute!" and "It must be so nice to go to work every day in your pajamas!" But when that all started, I didn't feel lucky at all. I felt isolated. And super lonely. I had no idea how to structure my days or how best to connect with my team. It didn't take me long to realize that in order for me to be successful in my job (and in my life), I needed to find meaningful ways to connect with my peers. Especially for an extrovert like me, I was missing that super personal connection with my people.
If I'm being honest, the adjustment period was rough, but before long I realized there were lots of great ways to feel at home in my work while also being in my home for work. I set up regular times to video chat with my co-workers and a daily check-in with my boss. I made sure to keep a detailed schedule. I constantly sought out videos of what was going on around campus.
I may have taken the virtual campus tour a time or two (or five hundred…).
Once I found my groove, I realized I was incredibly productive in my home — that being there actually allowed me more time to focus on my relationships and to cut out all the noise (figurative and literal) that sometimes comes with working in an office. I feel like that time was some of my most prolific in my professional career and allowed me a good deal of time for thoughtful reflection and intentional connection.
It didn't take me long to realize that in order for me to be successful in my job (and in my life), I needed to find meaningful ways to connect with my peers.
Having had this experience has proven to be a true gift to me in these days since COVID-19 closed the physical space of our office building. It has allowed me an awareness of what sorts of high-quality experiences are necessary to provide for these important connections to continue to happen, even though right now, you won't be with us together on campus.
The good news for us here at Drexel is that we've already found our "work from home groove." So many resources to help you feel connected are already available. Our Graduate Virtual Experience page includes videos so you can see all we offer our community. It includes blogs to share the voices of our students and staff with you. It contains downloadable PDFs of our brochures and fact sheets, describing what our colleges are excited to share about their research and program offerings. It provides links to sign-up for live chat sessions with our admissions representatives eager to talk with you and a calendar of live virtual presentations from our college partners. It even contains a link to our virtual campus tour, should you too decide to take it a time or two (or five hundred…).
We've been working hard behind the scenes these last few weeks to make sure that we have all the pieces in place for your experience to be as high quality and connected as if we were able to sit down with you in person. It will be different than we anticipated, but no less amazing. I'm confident that once you have the opportunity to get into your own virtual groove, you too will find this time to be productive and reflective and intentional.
We're living in unusual times. It's hard to say any business is being conducted "as usual" these days. But what we're doing at Drexel is even better: We're handling this unusual business, and we're doing it in our usual, intentionally connected way.
Angela Montgomery is the Assistant Dean and Executive Director of Graduate Admissions at Drexel University. In her free time, she loves live music, things that make her laugh, and spending time with her family.