“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”
When Arthur C. Clarke made those visionary comments it’s unlikely he was referencing the global pandemic that has caused thousands of deaths and brought the world’s economy to a grinding halt – but the COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on the innovation and ingenuity that abounds in society, and none more so than right here at Northampton College.
Rather than hunker down and wait for the coronavirus crisis to pass, college students and staff have met the challenges it poses square in the face, in a display of admirable resilience, stoicism and inventiveness.
Just this week we have seen staff using 3D printers to manufacture face shields for key workers in local hospitals, care home and the food supply chain. Demand has outstripped supply, so more printers have been purchased and production has been scaled up to ensure this vital equipment is available for those who need it the most.
The thought of switching the delivery of an entire curriculum for thousands of students from a classroom to their own bedroom, kitchen or study is enough to send shivers down your spine. It’s a herculean task, beset with technical, logistical and practical problems.
Ordinarily this would be planned over several months, even years. Instead, this was in place within a week and has had incredibly few teething problems. In fact, we have received countless emails from students who are thriving in their new way of working, and the results speak for themselves.
We don’t yet know when things will get back to normal. We don’t even know what ‘normal’ will look like when this is all over. Some of the changes we, and others, have made have highlighted what is possible by doing things differently.
A change to normality is unnerving and can take us out of our comfort zones – but it also provides an amazing opportunity to try new things, explore new methods and achieve results we never previously imagined.
Let’s keep fighting this, let’s keep finding new ways of working and let’s make the impossible, possible.