What are you afraid of? It’s that time of year when, traditionally, thoughts turn to haunted houses, dark shadows and all things eerie. For many people, it’s entertaining to be frightened by pretend monsters or curl up with apple cider and a scary movie. Little kids gain bravado by dressing up as someone else and heading out into the night to gather candy.
The truly brave might head out on a real ghost adventure. I recently read a Facebook post from a friend who toured an old hospital in my hometown that’s reported to be haunted. She was in complete darkness and left alone in a room to see if any spirits appeared. I’m pretty sure I would not be able to do that without running out screaming, but it seemed like she had fun.
Here at MSU, our Campus Archaeology Program has joined in the seasonal fun by creating a tour that explores some of the oldest parts of campus, merging actual history with tall tales of hauntings. When I went on it a few years ago, it was a really cool way to learn about campus and get into the spirit of Halloween. This year, you can experience the tour virtually or you can also check out some highlights in the MSUToday feature Spartan Spirits.
I’m glad CAP found a way to offer a little distraction from the real world. Because, as we know, there’s nothing traditional about this year and it’s been filled with the fear of a virus that is real. The fear has consumed the world since we first learned of COVID-19 and what it’s capable of. We fear for our health, our families, our businesses, our educations and those on the front lines. We fear never being able to resume “normal” lives. We grieve for those we’ve lost.
But we face that fear and carry on. We protect ourselves and others, we find innovative ways to teach, learn and do business. We make masks, volunteer, research solutions, educate others and courageously face tomorrow. We juggle work, childcare, online learning, household responsibilities and our physical and mental health. We are Spartans and we are brave — braver than we ever dreamed we’d need to be.
And many Spartans are taking on this new monster head-on. They’re working as health professionals and first responders. They’re researching and implementing detection methods. They’re exploring ways to use machine learning to hunt for new therapies and untangling the relationship between health and the economy.
Debra Furr-Holden, the associate dean for public health integration and C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health in the College of Human Medicine, addresses the secondary effects of the crisis in the MSUToday Faculty Voice: Limiting the collateral damage of COVID-19.
We are constantly having to adjust what we do. President Stanley continues to keep the Spartan community informed with regular updates on semester plans, detection programs, financial matters as they relate to the pandemic. Read his October update for all Spartans to get the latest information.
Everything has changed, but we figure things out every step of the way. If you’re like me, you go about your day doing all the things you can to try to forget the fear. But it never leaves. It’s lurking behind the corners in my mind and pops out every so often to remind me it hasn’t gone away. It’s still scary and it’s exhausting.
We must be vigilant in keeping up with all the safety precautions, no matter how tired we are.
But it’s important to not give in to fear completely and to take care of ourselves by breaking away from troublesome thoughts and taking a breath every now and again.
With that in mind, I offer up a relaxing video of fall sights and sounds from campus. I promise you’ll feel immediately calmer and more hopeful after viewing.
I know the fear is still with us, Spartans. But everything scary is less so when we’re not alone. Be there for each other. Be brave for someone who is afraid. Work together to fight the monster. There is strength in numbers and we’re more than half a million strong. We can do this. #SpartansWill.
Lisa MulcroneEditor, MSUToday