We’ve all said it before and we’ll say it again – this has been a difficult…month? Year? Who even knows?
Get some inspiration from your colleagues who are doing their best to keep moving forward.
In short, the past few days have been challenging. Anyways: in terms of sanity.
First, I have to find some way to exercise each workday. Currently, that means hopping on my Peleton and listening to my favorite instructors.
Second, I derive a lot of my energy and sanity from music. I make it a point to listen to a variety of music, curate playlists for friends, select songs for my weekly turn-up Thursday, etc. Actually, right now, I am listening to 24 hours of Stevie Wonder, a music marathon celebrating the artist’s birthday.
Third, even though we are social distancing, I make it a point to find community. On Saturdays, I write online via Zoom with 20+ mostly female academics of color. We post our goals, celebrate each other, and reminisce about the food from the place that brought us together, Easton’s Nook. I also make a point to call my mother, as someone outside of academia, she keeps me grounded and, most importantly, sane.
During a time when everyone is encouraged to distance themselves from people, Josh Zide, a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department and Molly Olney-Zide, who is an Associate Librarian at the Morris Library have found a creative way to travel and make a positive impact. Josh, a licensed pilot, and Molly, a volunteer with the organization Pilots N Paws, transport dogs from high kill shelters in southern states to new homes in the northeast. So far the duo has rescued a total of 17 dogs, and their travels have allowed them to visit Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York all while maintaining (vertical) social distancing.
My students and kids as a combination are keeping me grounded. While guest speakers, project presentations (with over 25 groups presenting this week!), assignments, and home-schooling 2 young ones is a crazy combination, it’s amazing to see that students are empathetic to the chaos, as they’re in the same situation trying to stay sane and organized. A constant reminder in the back of my mind is to prioritize – and to constantly reassess these priorities. Sometimes priority is my students, as they worked hard to prepare a presentation and I have to give them my undivided attention, and sometimes it’s my kids and their crazy Zoom schedules.
I’ve been doing three things to keep busy during these crazy times, although I do them during non-pandemic years as well. I fish all the time in New Jersey; I make, collect, and drink wine; and I run. I was all set to do the 10 mile Broad Street Run in Philly until it was postponed until the fall due to COVID-19. I have also enjoyed numerous emails and conversations with some of the wonderful students that I have in my classes this semester.