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Who Will We Become During The COVID-19 Pandemic?


Shalayne Smith Needham: We have all dealt with the effects of COVID-19 in one way or another and some of us will come out of this a new person. Joining us to discuss this is Dr. David Schram, an associate professor of human development and family studies in the College of Education at Utah State University. 


And Dr. Schram, you have said that the coronavirus will become a part of everyone's life story. Can you expand on that?

David Schram: Yeah, we each are living our own life stories right now. And this will affect all of our life stories in one way or another. But I like to think of us as the author, really,of our own life stories and about how what we become depends on several factors.

SSN: And what are those factors and how do they affect our life story?

DS: Who we become through this whole experience really depends on a few things. And one of those is our resources. Resources such as our social networks, our connections, our skills, our interests, as well as our life experiences. And the other thing that it depends on is our perspective. 

We have a long term perspective that this is not a new normal. This is a new now. And we will get through this and I think that many of us can become better because of it.

SSN: In the meantime, how do we stay resilient and work through our everyday struggles? What help is available to guide us through these hard times?

DS: There are many resources that we can turn to through this. One of those is Extension Resources. We can go toextension.usu.edufor helpful resources. 

We can actually turn inward for our own resources. One of the best things that we can do is keep our bodies right. Our diet, our exercise, our sleep-- those contribute to our mental health in great ways. 

Another thing we can do is experience gratitude. We can think of those things that we are grateful for, that we perhaps have a new perspective from through these challenges. Because challenges really provide us an opportunity for our minds to do their very best work. And we can focus on the negative, and the things that are stressful, or we can see them as opportunities to, to be more mindful of the small things, the important things in our lives. 

SSN: And as this pandemic evolves, and we look for the end in sight, how do you think we will look back at ourselves and what will we discover? 

DS: Once this is all over, I think we'll be able to look back and we'll be able to say, how did I use my time? How did I use the relationships and the resources that I had? What was I able to accomplish? 

Because right now I view this as almost even better than January 1, better than New Year's Day as far as resolutions and goal setting because many of us have more time now, to work on personal development and our relationships than we ever will. So being able to look back and say, wow, what did I do? Who did I become as part of this experience?

SSN: I appreciate your time and look forward to continuing our discussion as we all navigate through this process together. 

DS: Great. I look forward to it. 


Shalayne Smith Needham has worked at Utah Public Radio since 2000 as producer of Access Utah. She graduated from Utah State University in 1997 with a BA in Sociology, emphasis on Criminology. A Logan native, she grew up with an appreciation for the great outdoors and spends her free time photographing the Western landscape and its wildlife.