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Rolling with the Punches: McKenzie Smith ’23 on Co-op

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When planning for Co-op, the last thing you’d expect is that a deadly virus spreads throughout the entire globe causing businesses, restaurants, and cafes to close; concert tours to come to a halt; and major events such as France’s Cannes Film Festival, The Netherland’s Keukenhof Tulip Gardens Event, and the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to be postponed.

What can you do at a time like this? Should we… cancel… life?

The most important thing that we can do is not panic, but prepare for change. At Antioch College, our students learn change doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. As a matter of fact, change is constant because life is always on the move; it twists and turns, coils and unfurls; it opens and it shifts; and often asks us to readjust our perspectives to find that one small sliver of light towards which we can grow. The world as we’ve come to know it is changing.

Antiochians Embrace Change

On April 6, Spring Quarter begins, and while some students have swapped their Co-ops for study terms, there are students who will be continuing their Co-ops. One of those students is McKenzie Smith ’23 who will be planning and coordinating interviews, handling web and social media posts, and helping with social and educational events at the Tecumseh Land Trust in Yellow Springs, OH.

McKenzie is majoring in Environmental Science and says, “I became interested in the other work they do for the community and the environment.” She is passionate about caring for the environment, and adds that she “wanted to become more involved in that work in my own community. I am hoping to learn more about my community and have more connections, better understand methods of conservation, and to overall gain more work skills.”

As McKenzie explains, at this moment in time, it is still uncertain which aspects of the Co-op will have to change due to COVID-19. “It’s a pretty small, low-contact job I feel, but I am wondering if part of the job will change.” Given the circumstances, “I am sure that if the job does change, it will still be just as rewarding.”

The coronavirus pandemic has broadly affected our community and weighs on our students as they navigate changes in their coursework, Co-op schedules, and personal lives.

“I am scared,” McKenzie confesses. “I miss my family and I miss shopping and going out to eat. I am trying my best to keep a routine at home and keeping myself busy.”

We like to think that we are in charge of everything; our goals and plans, our visions and dreams, and all of our intentions. The truth of the matter is, however, that things don’t always turn out the way that we’ve hoped.

Sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches.