Fall 2020 at CO-OPS + CAREERS

Graphic with text on a grey background with a teal boarder and illustrations representing 4 diverse students accessing virtual and in person services. Text reads: Fall 2020 at CO-OPS + CAREERS. We're open with limited in-person services, Monday – Friday from 8:15am – 4:45pm.  All CO-OP + CAREER Advising appointments will be conducted virtually. Sechedule through WITworks, at the front desk, or by calling 617-989-4101.

Welcome back to campus, we are so happy to see students walking the halls again! In light of Covid19 we are operating a bit differently this semester.

For the Fall 2020 semester our office is open with limited in-person services, Monday – Friday from 8:15am – 4:45pm. Stop by 101 Wentworth Hall to ask a question, pick-up resources, or just to stay hi to the two staff members on campus that day. Before you enter our space we ask that you:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Display the “CLEARED” screen on your CoVerified App.
  • Are the only visitor at the reception desk/in the office.

All CO-OP + CAREER Advising appointments will be conducted virtually.  Below are instructions for making and attending remote appointments. You can meet with your CO-OP + CAREER advisor by phone, or video session via Zoom. Schedule today through WITworks, by calling 617-989-4101, or stop by the office.

Scheduling an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor

To schedule through WITworks:

  • Login to WITworks and navigate to “Counseling Appointment” tab on the left side of the screen.
  • Click on the red box that says, “Request New Appointment”.
  • Fill out all fields and select, “Check Availability”.
  • All available appointment times will appear on the right side of the screen – select the time that works for you.
  • Indicate in the “Purpose of the appointment” section which type of meeting you want – phone or video (and any additional explanation needed).
  • If you want a phone meeting, include your number so your advisor can call you.
  • Click, “Submit Request”.

To schedule an appointment at the office or by phone (617-989-4101) simply work with the person with whom you are speaking to provide the necessary information as usual.

Attending your virtual CO-OP + CAREER Advising appointment

If meeting via Zoom:

  • Your advisor will email you the link to participate at the start of your appointment.
  • Click on that link and you will be brought to a Zoom video in your web browser. You do not need to download special software.
  • Email any documents you want reviewed ahead of time.

If meeting via phone:

  • Your advisor will call you at the number you provided when you made your appointment.
  • Email any documents you want reviewed ahead of time.

Save the Dates for the Fall Virtual CO-OP + CAREER Fairs!

Join us from 2-5PM Tuesday, October 13 through Thursday, October 15, for our first ever industry specific CO-OP + CAREER Fairs based on your major programs. Learn more and find registration details on our website: https://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/student-event-information.

Why Take the Career Outcomes Survey?

Graphic with tex on blue background: Class of 2020 Career Outcomes Survey. Take survey here: bit.ly/WentworthClassOf2020

TL;DR: To help current and prospective students make informed decisions about their future.

Each year CO-OPS + CAREERS asks recent Wentworth grads, at commencement and again 6 months later, to share their plans for life after Wentworth through the Career Outcomes survey. This annual initiative captures a snapshot of hiring trends, challenges, and opportunities that each graduating class faces.  Once collected, we compile the responses in an anonymous report that shares the story of the most recent Wentworth graduating class with the goal of providing current and future students with the information they need to make decisions about their major and career goals. Check out the Class of 2019 report here.

Responding to the Career Outcomes Survey can be intimidating, especially in light of recent times. After all, it’s a survey asking whether or not you are currently employed or heading to grad school, which for many is a challenging question in this job market. Let us be clear in the purpose of this survey: It is not to measure your individual career success. Your response helps Wentworth and the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development understand how to best support you and future graduates.

Share Your Plans with Us here: bit.ly/WentworthClassOf2020

All Class of 2020 Graduates are encouraged to take the Career Outcomes Survey, regardless of your current career status. The information you are able to provide can have a significant impact on the choices your Wentworth peers make and can also influence how the University supports your future. All responses will remain confidential.

We also understand if you are concerned about your search during this time. We encourage you to make an appointment with CO-OP + CAREER Advisor whenever you need it. Whether you are seeking a quick check-in or a more in-depth discussion, we are here to help.

To make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or visit our website for more information about scheduling virtually.


Content adapted from a blog originally posted by Emerson’s Career Development Center.

Black Lives Matter and a commitment from CO-OPS + CAREERS

The Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development wants to make it clear to our students, alumni, colleagues, and corporate partners that we believe Black Lives Matter and we stand for the values of anti-racism. We are committing ourselves to ongoing dialogues and educating ourselves around racial injustice. Our team is dedicated to recognizing, listening to, and serving our Black students and alumni who confront the extraordinary obstacles of societal and systemic racism every day.

Career education and development is meant to serve as a tool to propel students and alumni toward the futures they envision, but it is all too often not an equitable experience. We want to acknowledge that while we work towards a better future, our Black students and alumni will continue to face discrimination in the workplace while experiencing organizational and individual racism. It is on us to support our Black students and alumni in navigating this difficult landscape, and to teach our white students the importance of utilizing their voice and actions to address anti-racism in the workplace.

At CO-OPS + CAREERS we commit to:

  • Amplifying and supporting the voices of the Black career experience through our blog and social media channels.
  • Dedicating a section of our website to resources and support for racial identities (among others) in the workplace.
  • Expanding Co-op Institute to include a module on the exploration of identity at work.
  • Reinforcing the Co-op Institute module on harassment and discrimination in the workplace to include anti-racism content.
  • Collaborating on and promoting programming that honors the experience of our Black students and alumni.
  • Providing resources and support specifically for our Black students and alumni.

Through this commitment we will create structures and opportunities to achieve equity for other communities of color at Wentworth.

To our Black community: we hear you; we see you; we support you; and we are taking action.

2020 James Dyson Award: Now Accepting Entries

By: Abbey Pober & Greg Affsa

Every year Dyson challenges current engineering and design students, and those within four years of graduating, to design something that solves a problem. Run by the James Dyson Foundation, this international design award was created to “celebrate, encourage, and inspire the next generation of design engineers.” Do you have a problem you can solve through design? Here’s everything you need to know about entering your solution for this year’s award and a chance to win up to $35,000!


What are the judges looking for?

Very simply, the judges are looking for you to meet the brief: ‘design something that solves a problem.’ Prize winning entries put the problem at the forefront of the design and make the solution clear.

A strong entry will:

  • Meet the brief with a compelling solution that solves a social, global, or sustainability problem and has the potential to improve peoples lives.
  • Be a thoughtful solution that can be easily explained
  • Incorporate design process, demonstrating iterative development through images and video, and address both real and possible failures.
  • Offer something different from existing products.
  • Have a real-world application with obvious potential to advance its field and be produced and sold.
  • Be clear, concise, and well-evidenced.

Keep track of how your invention meets the judging criteria with this design brief template. Download here.

Dyson Breif Template

Design Process

What you build for your solution is important but what is equally important is to show your process for how you developed your solution. Using Design Thinking as your design process demonstrates that you understand your user, have identified a critical need to solve for, and shows you have integrated user feedback into your final solution.

STEP 1, EMPATHIZE: Build empathy for the person you are solving for. Create a persona of this population. Create a journey map to give context to the issue or situation you are addressing. You must understand who you are solving for before you can create a solution.

STEP 2, DEFINE: Once you understand your end user and their experience, create a list of challenges your user is facing. Highlight the “root cause” challenges that you feel require a solution.

STEP 3, IDEATE: Brainstorm 50+ ideas that could solve the root cause challenges you have highlighted. Anything can be listed here as an option, from the practical to the ‘out of this world’ ideas. Prioritize these to determine which can have the greatest impact based on resources available.

STEP 4, PROTOTYPE: Build it! Create a prototype of your solution.

STEP 5, TEST: Get your prototype in front of your user, have them use it, and get feedback. Adapt your solution based on feedback.

Building the right solution that solves a real problem is the goal of Design Thinking. By leading with empathy, and understanding the end user at the start, you can be confident that what you build will bring value to the people you’re solving for.


How to Enter

Dyson Timeline

Entries are being accepted now through July 16, 2020. Individuals and teams of up to ten should submit their idea online through the James Dyson Award website. Qualified participants must be current students or recent graduates (within the last four years) of an engineering-related degree program from a university in an eligible country.

When it’s time to submit your design, you will be asked the below questions. It is a good idea to save your answers in a word document first so you can easily copy into the webform.

  • What it does: clearly explain what your invention does in no more than two sentences.
  • Your inspiration: this is where you need to explain the problem your invention is addressing and why your invention is necessary/important
  • How it works: clearly explain how your invention works in simple language, don’t use jargon or over-complicate it.
  • Design process: describe and explain your iterative design journey, what problems have you faced, how did you overcome them, how has this process improved your invention? Make sure to provide images and videos.
  • How it is different: there are lots of new designs/concepts/inventions out there, why is yours unique?
  • Future plans: what are your next steps, are you filing a patent, are you working through the design process, are you ready to manufacture?
  • Awards: have you won any other awards for your invention?

Video and imagery are important tools to communicate how your invention works and why it deserves to win, but the judges are not expecting extremely polished content – smart phone images and videos are great. Videos do not need to be complex or highly edited and can be as simple as you explaining how the invention works in one minute.



Entering for the James Dyson Award not only gives you a chance to put your design skills to the test but puts you in the running for multiple prizes and opens the door to international exposure for your work. Prizes include:

  • One overall international winner receives $35,000 and an additional $6,000 for their University
  • NEW this year, one sustainability winner receives $35,000
  • Two international runners up receive $6,000
  • 27 national winners receive $2,500, 54 national runners up
  • Top 20 Shortlist – A panel of Dyson engineers select an international Top 20 from all national finalists.
  • International media exposure for all finalists

Need some inspiration? Check out the designs entered by last year’s winners and finalists: https://www.jamesdysonaward.org/en-us/past-winners/

Sign up to receive the James Dyson Award newsletter and register for the award at: https://www.jamesdysonaward.org/. Questions about careers at Dyson? Check out https://careers.dyson.com/ or email graduates@dyson.com.

Co-op Stories: Nick Piscitello

By: Nick Piscitello

Recent graduate of the Electromechanical Engineering Program, Nick Piscitello, shared his experience working at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as a part of the SMART Program with CO-OPS + CAREERS:


What is the SMART Program?

The SMART (Science, Math, And Research for Transformation) program is a scholarship-for-service program offered through the Department of Defense. The scholarship covers 100% of tuition costs (no limit, though this does not include room and board or other expenses) and usually includes a monthly stipend with annual allowances for insurance and miscellaneous educational costs (books and supplies). Each SMART program participant is sponsored by a DOD facility where they are obligated to complete summer internships (which count for your co-ops!) and work full-time after graduation. Each year of funding corresponds to one year of full-time work at the sponsoring facility. For example, my funding started for the Fall 2018 semester (after applying during the cycle ending in December 2017) and I graduated in the Spring 2020 semester. I completed an internship during the summer of 2019 and am obligated to work for 2 years at my sponsoring facility after graduation. There are many, many sponsoring facilities across all 3 DOD branches in every corner of the country, and, though you cannot explicitly choose which SF sponsors you, you can express preferences for which ones you would like to work at. It is important to the facilities and the program that you and your SF are a good match.

Why are you participating in the SMART Program?

On the recommendation of a mentor from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, I looked into the SMART program and was immediately impressed. Obviously, the tuition payment and stipend were extremely attractive; less tangible but more exiting was the opportunity to build a career with the DOD. I was not selected for the program in my first application year, but I still chose to get my foot in the door at the Shipyard through the Navy Pathways internship program. When I was selected for the SMART scholarship the next year, I was excited to be able to spend two more summers at the Shipyard, building a relationship with the group I’d be working with after graduation. I view these internship periods and the service commitment as advantages – I’ll be walking into a job I like and a group that I already have a good relationship with. In addition, the DOD is one of the largest organizations in the world, guaranteeing endless opportunities for upward mobility and relocation throughout my career.

How do I get into the SMART program?

Applications are accepted beginning in August and are due by December 3rd for awards beginning the next fall semester (with no internship required during that summer). The major components of the application package include a few standard essay questions (why you want to work for the DOD, why you enrolled in your major, teamwork/leadership/volunteer experiences, etc.) and 3 letters of recommendation. Depending on the facility that sponsors you and your specific role there, you may need to be able to obtain a security clearance; either way, this is essentially an application for federal employment so act accordingly! More information on application and eligibility requirements can be found at https://smartscholarshipprod.service-now.com/smart, or you’re welcome to get in touch with me (npiscitello@thelittlefish.net) if you have any questions about my experience.

If you are interested at all in Federal employment, or already have connections at a Federal facility, this opportunity is truly second to none. Applications and offers are non-binding, so even if you’re still on the fence, it’s worth a shot!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Nick! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience with us (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

To make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or visit our website for more information about scheduling virtually.

How to Stay an Engaged Employer During COVID-19

By: Chris McIntyre

COVID-19 has changed how we interact with everyone and everything around us. Our office understands it has been a long, strange 11 weeks and we all face a challenging road ahead. However, how we think about recruiting for co-ops, internships, and full-time roles is no different.

Together we will find a new normal and resume certain pre-COVID activities. While you might not be ready to resume recruiting just yet, whenever you are, we will be here to help. With that in mind, see below for a few tips to help navigate recruiting in uncharted times.

  1. Post your co-op and full-time roles to WITworks. Wentworth is holding Summer classes – albeit virtually – and that means students are on co-op. While a final decision has not been made about the method of instruction for Fall semester, the one certain thing is WIT will have a large number of students looking for a required co-op to begin in September. Students have also altered their search for Fall co-op, with many having already begun the process.

In addition to co-op, upcoming graduates’ full-time job searches have been impacted by COVID-19. Usually over half of WIT students receive a full-time offer from a previous co-op, but the pandemic has resulted in many more Seniors on the market this Summer. Posting now will ensure the most talented WIT students have access to your roles before most employers begin their process later this Summer.

  1. Host an information session or workshop this Summer. Because all in-person events are suspended or cancelled for the foreseeable future (Including our largest event, the Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair), students are craving employer interaction. Hosting a workshop in Zoom, such as building a resume or navigating technical interviews, is a great way to connect with students while giving yourself a competitive advantage over competing organizations. Even an hour of Q+A or hosting a traditional information session will go a long way in increasing applications.


  1. Be creative. Perhaps you are not able to commit to a full 40-hour co-op this Summer, or you can hire in June or even July. That is ok – we can still help with recruiting! COVID-19 has required us to be flexible and think about co-op unlike we ever have before, so we will be happy to help you brainstorm ways to make it work. Examples include having students work part-time, remotely (either for the entirety of co-op or temporarily), or a delayed start. Contact CO-OPS + CAREERS or Chris McIntyre for help.


  1. Plan ahead. September 2020 seems like a long way off, but the Summer always goes fast. Because Fall co-op recruiting is already underway and students are currently applying, waiting until August to post means there will be a limited pool of students available. If possible, begin planning for your Fall semester co-ops now to ensure you have ample time to recruit.

We appreciate your continued support and we value our employer partners. Wentworth will continue to provide quality talent for your needs and remain committed to providing the best in real-world learning. As our office likes to say: Let’s get to work!

Where does WIT Work?

By: Becky Smith

Using LinkedIn to Identify Receptive Alumni, Students & Employers Around the Globe

Networking is a crucial part of any job search…and it is especially important if you are entering a challenging job market! Get started by locating and talking with alumni and students from your major who have done co-ops or jobs related to your interests.

Why Search for Alumni on LinkedIn

1) it is easy to sort by major and see what a targeted group of people have been doing

2) your shared experience from college is an effective way for you to introduce yourself

3) it can help you to identify opportunities in a specific geographic area (home, or a less familiar city/state)

How to Locate Alumni Information on LinkedIn

To find alumni on LinkedIn, go to the School Page: Type our university name in the search bar on your LinkedIn homepage. Make sure you select the School Page, not a Company Page, Showcase, or Group.

Pro Tip: You can do this for any university or school, even if you were never a student there! Try this to get data on alumni in a specific geographic area outside of Boston, or to see where students from another college are working.

Search "Wentworth Institute of..." into LinkedIn search bar

Next, click on “Alumni”.

Select "Alumni" tab

Filter Search Results to Find Companies of Interest, Potential Contacts, and More

Alumni information is categorized by filters such as where they live, where they work, what they do, and what they studied. These lists display top results under each category; we strongly recommend that you also use the search bar above these lists to look for specific cities, companies, etc. if they do not appear in the lists. At the bottom of the page is a display of alumni who meet the criteria.

Other helpful searches: Adjust the date range depending on whether you are seeking young alumni to chat with, or more experienced alumni who are now managers; and search by company name, job title, skills, or any other details.

Pro Tips: Click Next to see more filters. Click Show More to see the entire list under any category.

Filter results

Alumni/Student Profiles

Profile summaries are displayed at the bottom of the page. Click on them to see full details such as:

  • Where has the person worked?
  • What job titles have they had?
  • What skills do they have listed?

NOTE: ALWAYS send a personalized message when you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn. It establishes your credibility and makes that individual more likely to respond.

Pro Tip: An invitation to connect is also an opportunity to message back and forth, even if you do not actually connect!

"Connect" on LinkedIn

Co-op Stories: Julia Gravano

By: Julia Gravano

Julia Gravano is a Wentworth junior studying Construction Management with a Concentration in Facilities Management and a minor in Business Management. She completed her first mandatory co-op semester this past spring with J. Calnan & Associates, Inc. and shared her experience with CO-OPS + CAREERS:

Julia with hard hat on

With J. Calnan & Associates in New York, NY., I served as a Project Coordinator. This position provides support for project management teams throughout the construction process.  Through close partnership with team members, as well as clients and subcontractors, the assistant project manager helps to ensure all job-related documentation is up to date.  This position works with project managers to monitor the status, details, and finances of each assigned project.


What is a typical day like at your co-op with J. Calnan & Associates, Inc.?

Every day is a different day! One day I could be helping with pre-construction which entails me becoming familiar with the drawings and calling subcontractors who may want to bid on projects.  Other days, I am assisting on existing projects dealing with RFI’s, submittals, and miscellaneous project management tasks.  In addition, I will walk through potential jobsites that our company may be looking to take on with our Project Manager and Estimator.  I look forward to each day because they may seem similar, but I always learn something new.  My co-workers and I try to eat at new local restaurants each Friday as well to take a breather from the office.


What is something that you are working on that has inspired you? 

The biggest project I have been a part of since the beginning of my co-op is 446 Broadway. It is an entire building totaling of 6 floors (including a cellar).  This building is identified as a New York Landmark Building.  I have been able to partake in preconstruction and construction activities this far.  This has allowed me to forge close relationships with both the Preconstruction and Project Management sectors of our NY branch.  I have learned about the different facets a project must undergo when it is identified as a landmark.  This project will allow me to see the transformation of a deteriorating old building to becoming new tenant and retail space.  I take pride in of all the projects that I touch upon working at J. Calnan.  I am grateful that they have taken me in as a co-op with open arms and see my potential by giving me responsibility.

I am also proud to say that I am part of such a compassionate and flexible company that cares about its employees and clients.  During this time of Covid-19, JC&A has been proactive about keeping its employees safe and up to date on protocols both in the office and in the field.  Though the NY department is smaller the Quincy HQ, we are able to strongly communicate and coordinate accordingly as we work from home.

Julia in front of J Calnan sign


What did you learn from your first optional co-op that have helped you in this role?

I have learned to have more attention to detail from my first co-op.  It provided me with my first experience of interior fit out construction as well as project management experience.  My first co-op also allowed me to learn about the dynamic and complicated relationships that owners, architects, and construction managers may have on fast paced projects.  Furthermore, I believe my job experience allowed me to be open about asking questions about why things are done and how things are done.  I took advantage of the subcontractors and co-workers that loved to explain and talk about what we do on a daily basis.


What advice do you have for female students interested in the Construction Industry?

The biggest piece of advice that I have for females is to not be afraid to ask questions and to be yourself.  The thing that I found most challenging is making sure that my voice is heard and proving that it matters.  I am not afraid to ask any question whether it be obvious or not.  It shows how interested you are and how you are applying knowledge that you have learned on the job or at school.  Be a sponge and soak it all in, but most importantly don’t forget to have fun.  I am such a high stress person and the biggest thing that I am still learning is to make your moments enjoyable and ones to remember.


What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through your co-op?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that knowledge is important, but your network it ultimately equal to your net worth.  The industry is small wherever you may go, and it is all about who you know.  I have found both of my co-ops back home in New York.  Without my involvement in industry events and constantly meeting people, I believe that I would not have had the luxury of living at home for co-ops.  In general, it is nice and important to hear other industry people’s stories and advice.  Be personable, make friends, and forge relationships that will last throughout your career.


Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Julia! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience with us (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

To make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or visit our website for more information about scheduling virtually.

Where’s the Action? 10 Places to Look for Jobs Right Now (Spring 2020)

By: Becky Smith

Searching for a co-op or a job that will start in the next 1-6 months? Worried about disruption from COVID-19? Consider searching for jobs in these very busy areas:

Now Hiring Sign

  1. Telehealth: This includes apps, chat bots, virtual reality and augmented reality (VR & AR), and online scheduling companies such as Teladoc Health, Firefly Health, Amwell, and Orbita
  2. Teleconferencing and EduTech: right now it’s so common to get training on line and conduct meeting and appointments on apps like Zoom, WebEx, MS Teams, or GoToMeeting! More companies are moving into this space to offer critically important training under today’s urgent circumstances.
  3. Ecommerce/Online Marketplace Platforms: Businesses and individuals are flocking to online marketplace and ecommerce sites such as BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix Ecommerce, Woo Ecommerce, and MIRAKL.
  4. Alleviating Social Isolation while practicing Social Distancing: Apps, on-line communities, social support and VR support groups are becoming more widely available for caregivers and elders. There are also companies helping patients and caregivers to collect and share data, for example, Folia Health and XR Health.
  5. Goodness knows we need enhanced cyber security for many of the services above!
  6. Data analysis and data sharing: companies SalesForce, Tableau (owned by SalesForce), Decision Point, and Splunk are providing access to their data resources and dashboards. This simulation in the Washington Post demonstrates how data science and mathematical modeling help us to understand epidemics and pandemics.
  7. One of the industries impacted least by the COVID-19 pandemic is life sciences. This includes biotech, pharma, and related sub-sectors. Manufacturing of medical devices and supplies, pharmaceuticals and therapeutics, and lab equipment must continue through shelter-in-place and economic downturn. Our society relies on these life-saving devices and treatments. Companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific, Abbott, and Vertex are still hiring!
  8. Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Several companies in the business of product shipping are overwhelmed: Amazon, grocery stores, and Walmart to name a few! UberEats and Postmates are reducing and sometimes waiving fees for delivery…even more business. To help behind the scenes in a professional capacity, look for job titles with keywords such as “Operations”, “Supply Chain”, and “Logistics”.
  9. Web-based wellness communities are leveraging these unusual circumstances. This growth may present a need for marketing or operations support, programmers, software developers, technical support, and customer support!
  10. Large Government & Financial Institutions: What do Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citi, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs & Department of Justice have in common? They all rely on mainframes and they are scrambling to gear up their legacy systems for COVID-related responses such as small business relief programs! Skills originating in past eras such as COBOL, Basic are in demand, along with SQL, HTML, and JavaScript.

Hands typing on laptop


Additional Resources:

Data for Good: The Tech Community’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, March 23, 2020


The Latest on the Coronavirus, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, updated daily


Here’s Who’s Hiring Right Now, LinkedIn, April 2, 2020



Thank you all for your patience during this challenging time. CO-OPS + CAREERS is here to support you! Do not hesitate to reach out directly to us with questions or concerns, by phone: 617.989.4101 or email: coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

Getting through Self-Isolation One Breath at a Time

By: Lauren Creamer

During and following self-isolation because of concerns related to Coronavirus, you may begin to experience some common stress responses. It is important to use self-care strategies, coping techniques and reach out for additional support when necessary. We are here to support you during self-isolation and beyond. This document includes strategies for coping and self-care as well as instructions for accessing services during your time off campus.

It is well-established that when we are stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. The stress hormone can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.

We might also experience an epidemic fear or “Coronavirus Panic.” Emergencies or critical incidents naturally brings upon a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety and fear for those directly and indirectly affected.

Our body is stressed on a minute by minute basis with constant and overwhelming social media reports of emergencies and current events. It is essential to keep your stress levels at a minimum because there is only so much you can do.

Common Stress Response

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Fear and anxiety about the future and death
  • Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Apathy and emotional numbing
  • Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the epidemic
    • Irritability and anger
    • Sadness and feeling powerless
    • Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating
    • Crying for “no apparent reason”
    • Headaches, back pains and stomach problems
    • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep


How to Cope

  • Take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and balanced
  • If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake as nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.
  • Cultivate self-compassion and be kind to yourself for the challenges that you are going
  • Limit exposure to news or social media on the
  • Set a time limit (e.g., an hour per day) on watching or reading only trustworthy and reliable news or talking about Coronavirus. Watching or reading news about the event repeatedly will only increase your
  • Talk about it (in moderation)
  • By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.
  • While you are self-isolating, remember that you are not alone. We can get through this together as a community.

Media on computer screen


Self-Care Strategies

While you might be currently isolated, it is important to maintain connections to interests, friends and entertainment. Try these tasks for some self-care strategies.

  • Avoid drugs and excessive drinking or emotional eating. Drugs, alcohol and emotional eating may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already
  • Structure your day and find some indoor activities you enjoy. Balance mind/body, fun and learning activities to keep your brain and body
  • Read a book
  • Establish a daily meditation routine (with a minimum 10 minutes per day)
  • Try yoga
  • Watch a movie
  • Listen to or play music
  • Draw
  • Do a 30-minute At-Home online video fitness class
  • Play a video game
  • Video chat with a friend or family member to have conversations outside of social media and texting

Man on Facetime

How to Work Efficiently

  • Be mindful of your working space. Create an office space if possible, but no matter what, ensure that you are doing work away from your bed/ where you sleep
  • Try to eliminate as many distractions from your workspace as possible
  • Work for 40-50 minutes at a time with 10-minute pauses for breaks. During your breaks, move your body a bit with light stretching. Give your brain a break but don’t do something that will end up distracting you for hours
  • Use the resources and support services that are offered to you for help if needed (some are listed below). Don’t forget that you can also reach out to your professor if you are struggling to manage the new platforms/ learning experiences


Additional Coping Strategies

  • Explore something new – Learn something new that has always been in your bucket list, but you never had the time for it before. Now is the perfect time!
  • Structure your day, one thing at a time
  • Make a To-Do list by breaking down your day into morning, afternoon and evening activities just like when you are in
  • Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment, control and mastery. It makes things feel less
  • Do something positive and meaningful. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels “out of your ”
  • Do anything else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the epidemic and keep the stress in
  • Stay hopeful and optimistic
  • Nothing is permanent. Everything will pass including the Coronavirus
  • Take one moment at a time

To do list

Services Available for You

  • Library support
    • You can request an online library instruction session here
    • You can contact your reference librarians with any questions at ref@wit.edu
    • Find more information about online resources in the Library & Online Learning Resources Guide here
  • Center for Academic Excellence
    • The CAE remains open virtually and is functioning remotely. For advising questions, contact advising@wit.edu and for tutoring questions, contact cae@wit.edu
    • You can find online tutorials and learning resources here
  • Tech Spot
    • Support hours have been extended to 7:30am-7:30pm M-F over email through techspot@wit.edu or by phone at 617-989-4500
  • Center for Wellness
    • Online and phone services are available for triage, case management, and general support
    • The Center will be open 9am-4pm for those experiencing a mental health crisis. Individuals are being asked to call the prior to coming in
    • After hours counseling phone service is still available. Students who would like to use this option should call 617-989-4390 and press #2 when prompted
    • Support groups are being offered online. Information regarding these groups can be found here
    • Students needing Accessibility Services can contact 617-989-4390 to set up phone or Skype sessions.
    • Here is a podcast by the Happiness Lab

*Adapted from Duke Kunshan University Counseling and Psychological Services and the University of Texas at San Antonio