When I sat down to write this note this week, the title “Spring forward” came to mind. But then my foggy brain had an inkling that I had already done another blog with the same title and the same image. So, off I went on a digital deep dive. I found a file with this title and the same image — and absolutely nothing else. It was dated March 11, 2020. Yep, that was the day a year ago that so many things changed. We sent students home, so I threw my planned blog in the digital garbage.
How naïve I was then, thinking I was going to write about a “normal” spring when instead everything turned into something surreal and beyond my imagination. The “spring forward” from then to now has felt both never-ending and yet also over in an instant. Moving forward has been precarious and uncertain, with twists and turns and disappointments around every corner.
I know I have written something almost every week since, but when I look at those pages now, it’s like a stranger wrote them. Some of them I honestly don’t remember at all. It’s as if I wrote them in a dream or someone else inhabited my body.
Such is one of the consequences of living this past year in a pandemic. Our brains simply aren’t working like they did before. The stress and trauma we’ve all lived through are taxing the very ways we think, remember and learn. Springing forward has felt very difficult when we’re under the binding ties of a relentless virus.
But it is happening. We are moving toward a new spring, one that brings hope and renewal. I took a walk at lunch yesterday and, if I ignored the mask I was wearing, it felt just like the springs before. Do what you can to break the ties holding you down and make those leaps forward. Your brain will thank you.
Being outdoors can be incredibly restorative. Alumna Brooke Larm believes in the power of nature so much that she has spent her career teaching kids in her ideal classroom — the outdoors. Read her Alumna voice: Let’s learn outdoors to discover why she hopes outdoor learning will become the norm.
Finding new ways to teach has been more important than ever this year. For instance, how do you teach theater and still keep students safe? MSU’s Department of Theatre created new ways to teach students. Watch the video Innovative Teaching Amid A Crisis to see how they safely returned to in-person instruction.
And what about work? For those of us still working from our kitchen tables and couches, when will work be “normal” again? We asked a few of MSU’s experts in human resources and labor relations what that might look like in the Ask the Expert: When will work go back to normal? Check it out to see what they think about the future.
The future will look brighter for some students thanks to a partnership between MSU and Lansing Community College that will improve access to a four-year degree and provides a seamless transition from LCC to MSU.
And no matter how tied down Spartans have been, we have shown incredible strength in moving forward. Every single day we’re doing the work and taking care of each other to make better tomorrows for everyone.
When I was on my digital deep dive, I found that at one point, I asked, “How are you?” I vaguely remember thinking it was really important to ask one month into the pandemic. And though there is an ever-growing light at the end of this dark tunnel, it’s even more important to ask now.
Stress builds upon itself and we have been stressed for a very long time. Check in on others. Ask the question. Really listen to the answers. Help others spring forward when they find themselves falling back. We’ve got this. Spartans Will.