This is a content holder for the one button emergency notification system.

An Unforgettable Start

Beginning my BSU career during a year unlike any other
Story Series
Bridgewater Magazine

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology and was what is known as a “newly minted PhD” when I joined the BSU family. Meaning, I only just completed my degree months before my start date. In my case, for the fall 2020 term. Yes, that fall 2020…

Let’s back up a wee bit to unpack the months leading into my first day here at BSU. The world virtually shut down in March 2020. For me, that meant I had to complete my PhD dissertation remotely and defend through an online means. A very foreign process and platform for me.

After successfully defending my dissertation, fast-forward a couple of months. My wife, Hope, and I traveled up the eastern seaboard with half our life, flew home to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, quarantined for two weeks, then drove down the eastern seaboard with the other half of our life – to our new home in Bridgewater.

After attending a small, socially distant get-together with my department, the next thing I knew, the term was upon us. I was afforded the opportunity to teach an overload (five courses) my first and second term. Prior to fall 2020, my only online teaching experience was in spring 2020 when everything flipped to online format due to the pandemic.

I was planning, grading, attending meetings, lecturing, eating, relaxing, sleeping and showering all within a 20-foot radius, inside my apartment. This was a challenge that neither my PhD program nor any other life events had prepared me for. I couldn’t rely on prior learning or situations akin to this to help inform me about how I would approach this new context. This was another foreign experience.

I found myself working long hours outside of my lectures trying different types of technology and activities in an effort to mindfully integrate these into my lectures to encourage students to want to keep their cameras on and to actively participate. The reality was, many lectures fell flat, and my actions seemed largely futile. However, the lectures, which did seem to captivate and cultivate deep learning experiences, made all the effort worthwhile. This, and leaning on my new faculty family for support, ideas and answers to my small (and sometimes mundane) questions, which were usually resolved with a quick shout or a dart across the hall to each other’s offices, all made my first year at BSU not only successful but also unforgettable. It was an experience I will always hold close to my heart. I know other faculty in other institutions across America with similar experiences as myself would not share that same sentiment. Thank you to my department and to my students.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note the upside of working from home last year. Being able to complete my work commute in under a minute, I was able to avail myself of (what I coined as) Zoom casual dress code – dress shirt with jogging pants and slippers – as well as coffee breaks with my wonderful wife.

Contact Us

Bridgewater Magazine keeps alumni, faculty, students and their families, staff, and friends of BSU informed about the university community and its impact on the region. This magazine is written, designed and edited by the Office of Creative Services and Publications with the needs of its varied audiences at heart and in mind.

For correspondence regarding Bridgewater Magazine, address all mail to:

Creative Services and Publications
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA 02325

For older issues of Bridgewater Magazine, please visit Virtual Commons