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Oct. 14, 2020

Editor's note: 'Same as it ever was'

I am tired. Deep-to-the-bone exhausted. I had a couple of days off last week, and while they were wonderful and relaxing, the overarching weariness remains. I am tired of this devastating pandemic and how it’s changed our lives. Our world was turned upside-down in the spring and we were forced to adapt. In the beginning, we were all scrambling to figure it out and I suspect we didn't have time to think much about it.


Now that we’ve fallen into a rhythm of working remotely, wearing masks, juggling family stress and trying to stay healthy, the sameness of doing everything differently is taxing on my soul. As I settle into yet another day of working in solitude and only seeing coworkers on a screen, the lyrics by Talking Heads blares out of my speakers, “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was,” and it feels very fitting. This new sameness feels like an eternity.


I take a deep breath and soldier on. What choice do I, or anyone else, have? Staying safe and healthy is the top priority so we figure everything else out and keep doing the same things. But I miss the “before COVID” days of spontaneity, different views, conversation and changing agendas. I miss travel, gatherings, eating out and going to the movies.


A coworker and I were lamenting that we miss the little things that happened in the office that made it fun. Water cooler conversations, hallway banter or going to lunch with a colleague made work more enjoyable than we realized. No amount of messaging or video conferencing can replace human contact and that adds to the overall fatigue.


It’s as if some sort of adrenaline was keeping us going in the beginning, but the sheer number of months we’ve kept it up is draining our reserves.


And yet, there are some things I am happy to see never change. The determination of Spartans to keep going and make the best of a difficult situation is something I never tire of.


I recently stumbled across a series of tweets by Casey Henley, an assistant professor of neuroscience, that showcased that spirit. Her empathy and care for her students came through as she admitted her own exhaustion but how her goal was to make sure her class learned something. Read her Faculty voice: Online instruction with compassion to learn more about this exceptional instructor’s philosophy.


I’m also pleased to know that MSU researchers remain the same. They are determined to use their skills to solve the problems of the world. Just this week, I’ve learned about researchers studying breast cancer, quantum physics and distracted driving. I’ve also revisited a previous story about MSU’s impact on the state’s wine industry. I will admit this pandemic has given me more appreciation for good wine.


Sometimes it takes getting outside to change up your day and breathe new life into your psyche. The incredible beauty of the changing leaves can do wonders to improve your day. And few places are as stunning as the MSU campus in the fall. I took a walk there the other day and the brilliance of the scenery put a smile on my face. Check out a photo gallery from last week to see some familiar sites and even a beautiful wedding portrait, with the bride and groom following safety procedures by wearing masks.  


Next Saturday, football returns to Spartan Stadium. But that will most definitely not be the same as previous years. No fans will be permitted and tailgating is not allowed. Read more about how to cheer safely next weekend.


No matter what you do this weekend, make sure to do something that shakes up the monotony of your days. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling a bit drained. It’s OK to admit that you might not be functioning at 100%. We are living in incredibly trying times. But take comfort in the fact that one thing is the “same as it ever was.” Spartans don’t give up. They simply don’t. They never stop working toward better tomorrows for everyone. #SpartansWill.  

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday


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