Ben Herr – Alumni (’82) Lititz, PA
As the news became more ominous, I had a dawning realization that the spreading pandemic was going to have a major impact on my work as a psychologist at a large residential school. In mid-March 2020 the school discontinued in-person learning and remained closed for the remainder of the academic year. I had to quickly pivot to Zoom for my psychotherapy sessions with middle schoolers and consultations with adults. I kept my card table and folding chair stored in my new bedroom-office for the next three months.
Now in-person school is back in session, but many of the activities and social opportunities that 10-15-years-olds value (sports, social gatherings, lunch table groups, mixing in hallways, having visitors over for dinner) are not available. As the virus continues as a kind of negative substrate I have found it challenging to keep both myself and my students encouraged. And yet, with every challenge is opportunity; opportunity to be thankful for the many positives that remain, and to reach out with understanding and care, even enthusiasm, in the daily interactions that define my work.