Kathleen Dillon is an MBA2 at Stern. Prior to business school, she spent six years as an officer in the Coast Guard and two years working for the New York Mets. At Stern, she serves on the board of the Military Veterans Club and the Management Consulting Association. Her academic specializations are Global Business and Business Analytics.
As I entered my first year at Stern last fall, I knew that business school would be filled with unique experiences and unexpected surprises. But one thing I definitely did not anticipate was encountering a pandemic during my time in school.
As the cases of COVID-19 increased in New York City last spring, Stern made the decision in mid-March to move all of our classes online for the remainder of the semester. During spring break, I was also scheduled to take part in Stern’s Doing Business In program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled. Definitely a disappointing turn of events but I certainly understood why Stern had to take these actions.
Toward the end of the summer, my classmates and I were notified that classes would be conducted in a hybrid environment. Essentially, this meant that some of our classes would be completely in person, some completely online, and others a mix of both. I’m honestly not the best online learner so I’m grateful that Stern was able to allow for some classes to be conducted in person. Out of the five classes I’m taking this fall, two are in person and three are remote. Being inside the business school building for my in-person classes feel very safe as Stern has taken multiple precautions to ensure the safety of the NYU community including biweekly COVID-19 testing of students and faculty as well as mask wearing and social distancing procedures.
Outside the classroom, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I’ve been able to continue building relationships with my classmates! I’ve met with friends in parks and outdoor spaces throughout New York. A few weeks ago, one of our classmates was participating in an endurance run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. A few of us got together to cheer him on and we even ran a lap of the park with him. Many restaurants and bars in New York have also created outdoor dining spaces and I’ve enjoyed getting to take advantage of outdoor dining before it gets too cold.
When we began LAUNCH last fall, this certainly wasn’t the business school experience that my classmates and I envisioned for ourselves. And yet I can’t help but be left with a feeling of deep gratitude. So many people’s lives have been completely upended by COVID-19. I’m incredibly grateful that my family and I have remained in good health and that I’ve had the opportunity to continue my education at Stern even if the day-to-day looks a little different than I thought it would when I entered business school last fall.