Whoa. It's actually happening. The gears are turning, things are set in motion, and we're headed toward a fall semester of living, learning, working and playing on campus. And I don’t mean virtually on campus by way of Zoom or Teams or any other computer-based connection tool. Real, in-person conversations and connections are just around the corner. Get the bottom half of your wardrobe ready, everyone. We’ll be seeing each other soon.
I got a glimpse of that Tuesday when I had my first meeting on campus in 15 months. A small group from my office was lucky enough to tour the new STEM building that was built using the old power plant building near Spartan Stadium. It’s a spectacular building and we’ll be sharing more about it as we move toward the grand opening.
As stunning as the building was, it was a little weird to be there. I was suddenly in the same room with colleagues I had only seen on screen for more than a year. Stranger yet, there were a couple of new employees who I had only ever seen on screen.
It felt a little like an awkward first date. Did I wear the right thing? What do I say? Am I talking too much? Did they expect someone different? Where should I stand and why have I forgotten what to do with my arms when they’re not poised above a keyboard?
I am hoping awkward me gets her game back before going back to the office on a more regular basis and seeing even more people. It’s like work-from-home me has forgotten her previous life.
I am certain I am not the only one facing the change back to a more “normal” work situation with trepidation. Good thing we’ve got experts to help guide us. Angela Hall, associate professor of human resources and labor relations, has put together some tips for a smooth return for in-person work.
After being our own “communities” for so long, there will be a period of adjustment. Any time people live, learn and work with others, there are differences to bridge. Nowhere is that more important than among the students who live together on campus.
For 25 years, the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and Intercultural Aide program has been working to unite MSU students across their dissimilarities, supporting a campus climate in which intercultural engagement and developing meaningful relationships are valued and practiced. Read the MSUToday feature, MSU multicultural program builds community across differences, to learn more about this work and why it’s important to student success and growth.
Rebekah Coleman, an MSU alumna with a degree in theater who later earned her law degree at Wayne State Law School, recognizes how her position as the first Black judge and first female judge for Michigan’s 32A District Court can inspire young children and girls. Read her Alumna voice: Becoming ‘the first’ to learn more about her and why she believes her purpose is “to help and uplift people to help them become better.”
Spartans are always looking for ways to “become better.” While it hasn't been easy, we kept learning, teaching, leading, solving and creating even during a worldwide pandemic. We simply never give up. But, we all deserve some time to rest too. Don't strive so hard to be better that you forget that being better also means happier, rested and recharged. Take some time this summer to make sure to relax.
Speaking of summer, it will be over before we know it. Those gears that were stuck in the “virtual” position for so long have slowly started to turn and, before we know it, will be moving at top speed. (Make sure you get your vaccine so we can keep going…no one wants to grind to a halt again!)
We got exciting times ahead of us. Put it in gear, Spartans, and get ready to go along for the ride. #SpartansWill.
Photo taken at the new STEM building