A profile from the Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-being.

“Music is probably my biggest passion.” But with the COVID-19 restrictions placing an indefinite pause on live music venues, Faculty of Education student, Jenn Pellerin (BA ’12), is turning her home with daughter and musician husband into a work studio to host virtual concerts. Jenn recently completed her first year as an English major, with an art background, while also embracing the opportunity to work with a team of motivated students and faculty as the Director of Professional Development for the Education Undergraduate Society.

What contributes to your personal sense of wellness? During this time at home, I have used my art and music as a way to cope with stress. I enjoy making crafts and baking and when I feel the need to deal with deeper feelings, I turn to songwriting and poetry. I also end each day by reading a chapter of something with my daughter before bed and this opportunity for bonding helps to restore my sense of wellness. As a student, building relationships with my professors was the most important piece of the puzzle in maintaining personal wellness. The expectations and workload in the Faculty of Education are demanding, and focusing on wellness is crucial.

. . . I have used my art and music as a way to cope with stress.

What benefits do you receive from art and music? These outlets have been very beneficial to me as a partner and a mother, as they are all things we can do together. I sing with my daughter daily and play shows with my husband regularly. We hosted our first Facebook live concert from our kitchen and were able to read the comments on our live feed as we played. The energy from the crowd was very real and reading heartwarming comments about how we made people feel like they weren’t in isolation for the night made it all worthwhile.

Could you talk about your PS I experience? Being an English major, I thought songwriting would be a fantastic way to teach rhyming to my kindergarten students. When the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came to my mind, I knew it would be perfect. Kindergartens worry about everything! From a lost shoe to a forgotten snack, they are worriers. I knew that brainstorming with them would lead to lots of great rhymes and it was something we could tell them to think about when they were upset.

How will the adjustments you’ve had to make during this COVID-19 isolation impact how you will teach and live in the future? I will try not to take personal interactions for granted in the future. Technology has made this situation better, but it can’t replace the presence of other people in your life. One thing that has been brought to my attention is the number of students who need supports.

I believe that education is the great equalizer and during this pandemic it is clear home-based learning does not provide a very level playing field for all students. I know that when we get to the other side of this, I have to advocate for those students who need additional supports.

Do any of us really know how this will change the way we live in the future? It is something I have spent a great deal of time thinking about. I think the amount of unknowns that we are facing makes it difficult to imagine. When circumstances get overwhelming, you need to have open dialogue. Or sing.


Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness


Writer: Christy Audet | Photo courtesy of Jenn Pellerin
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