A Q&A Between Alia White and Valerie Wrenn
Covid-19’s impact on the world was unexpected, unprecedented, and forced many to adjust to a ‘new normal’, not only for students but faculty and staff as well. Working from home became a new way of life and has influenced a greater meaning of work/life balance. For over 18 months, Weingarten adapted their services to an online platform. Beginning in July, Weingarten staff began to migrate back to the office on a hybrid schedule, to eventually, transitioning entirely to in-office operations.
Valerie Wrenn, The Associate Director of Tutoring Services, had an even more eventful 2020-2021, as she welcomed a baby boy earlier this year. As a new mom and being back in the office full-time, Valerie shares her thoughts on working from home and transitioning back into the office while caring for an infant. Below, Valerie shares with us her thoughts and processes through the following questions:
Q: What were you immediate thoughts on working from home beginning March 2020 and how well did you adjust?
When we first made the transition, we all thought it would be temporary. It was exciting and new, a different way of doing things. I thrive on a challenge, so figuring out how to build new systems and working habits for myself was exciting. However, I definitely had some difficulties creating new organizational systems and separating my life from work. But I loved that I could work with my cat on my lap!
Q: After the birth of your son, Myles, and getting back to work, what were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The return to campus has been overwhelming. Being a new mom of an infant means that I’m still juggling a lot of anxiety around interacting with people. But I am managing this by getting tested regularly and continuing to take all precautions like wearing a mask and avoiding overly crowded spaces.
Q: Now that the Weingarten Staff are back in the office full-time, what are some of the things you have enjoyed about being back in the space?
I love getting to see our colleagues. The staff here are such welcoming people and truly care about supporting students. It’s great to be able to tap into their energy when my own reserves are running low.
Q: Lastly, please share your thoughts on how you think we as a staff can bring our work-from-home practices (or work/life balance habits) into the office.
First, remembering to accept what we can control and what we can’t. There is more to get done in any workday than is reasonable to ask of someone. We have to be kind to ourselves when we find that we can’t get to something. The best we can do is prioritize the most important things (and sometimes that’s going to be our mental health, our kids, doctor’s appointments, etc.) and understand that some of the other stuff may have to wait. The second is a quote that I heard by a writer named G.K. Chesterton: “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” The idea is that exercising for 10 minutes once a week is better than not exercising at all. This principle can apply to a lot of things. Don’t get frustrated that you might not be able to cook a healthy meal every day, but figure out what you can do with your resources and time.
By: Alia White, Financial Administrative Coordinator