Students use what they’ve learned in class to cope during pandemic

The routine of going to campus, attending in-person classes and hanging out with classmates came to a halt when COVID-19 forced universities to transition to distance learning.

When face-to-face classes stopped, organizational psychology graduate students Oliva Ojalvo and Rosa Martinez set out to create a sense of normalcy for their cohort.

Girl waving on Zoom

Implementing what they are learning in their summer Occupational Health Psychology course, Ojalvo and Martinez started a Zoom social hour. The meetings have helped Ojalvo overcome many moments of stress and anxiety.

It’s the kind of strategy the Master of Science in Organizational Psychology program helps students to implement once they become industrial organizational psychology practitioners and managers who can design and impact organizational effectiveness and increase productivity in the workplace.

Ojalvo, Martinez and their classmates are learning how employees can reduce stress by taking control of their time outside of work and by establishing a sense of social support. They wanted to preserve the relationships with one another, maintain the sense of peer support within the cohort and withstand the academic rigor of graduate school.

“All of us were trying to adapt to all the new changes that were happening, so creating the weekly Zoom meetings was our way of supporting each other through the quarantine,” Martinez said.

Something as simple as virtually meeting her classmates’ pets and sharing TV show recommendations has helped students like Martinez feel a sense of normalcy.

“Catching up in the beginning, talking about everything and playing games has really helped us bond and solidify these friendships,” said Daniel Aguirre, a student in the cohort.