It had already been a long Monday. I had been in several virtual meetings and worked on multiple projects. At least I had the benefit of a beautiful day I could see outside the partially open window in my home office. But just as I was winding down by catching up (again) on some emails — CRASH! The window came off its frame, fell onto a chair and shattered into countless dangerous shards. Needless to say, I screamed and called for help.
The little sliding latches that hold the window in the frame had broken so it was just resting there all day. I don’t remember a big wind or a train rumbling by, but something caused it to fall in. Maybe someone was trying to tell me it was time to take a break and step away from my desk. Which I did, as my husband and I spent the next two hours carefully cleaning up. I’m happy to report in all that mess, I only got one tiny cut on my knee. It could have been so much worse.
A co-worker noted that it was a bit like a metaphor for life right now. That seems about right — going about your business with sunlight on your face when out of the blue, something crashes down in a hundred dangerous pieces. You might get a little hurt, there’s a lot of cleanups, but you do what you need to and move on. This kind of sums up 2020 for a lot of us.
So today, with a boarded-up window, there’s a lot less sun in my life. But it’s only temporary. Just like all the challenges that we come across, we get past the danger, regroup and carry forward. But it’s also completely OK to ask for help to get through the scary times. Just like I shouted for help amidst the broken glass, sometimes you need to call out for assistance to get you through a rough patch.
This year, we know our students are facing untold challenges but we’re doing everything we can to help them be safe, learn and stay healthy. That includes taking care of their mental health, which is key to getting through these tough times. Check out Jay Gooden, a senior majoring in theater, who offers some tips and resources for students in a video about managing stress and staying well.
With classes being held virtually this semester, it’s also really important that we support students academically. Crystal Gonzalez-Pineda, an interdisciplinary studies in social science junior, shares some advice and resources in a video about staying on top of classes while learning remotely.
One piece of advice Gooden has to keep your mind healthy is to listen to some music. Tasha Warren, assistant professor of music and international performer, knows the power it can have. Recently, she reflected on her experience traveling to India just before the pandemic hit and what a “treasure” it was. Read her Faculty voice: Elevating life through music to learn about her experience.
Our lives before the pandemic were truly a treasure, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. None of us could have known we’d still be operating under campus health and safety directives this far into the fall. But here we are.
We’re all a little broken and have days with less sunshine than others. We’re forced to pick up the pieces, block out the danger and continue on. We all could use a break from the relentless weight upon our shoulders from carrying the burden of this pandemic and all that it has brought with it.
But we are Spartans. We sweep up the pieces, board up the holes and get back to work. And, when we need help, we are there for each other. Don’t let the cracks in the world break you. We’ll get through it together. #SpartansWill.