First Day: The New Academy, Hell, and Miracles

My favorite building on campus

Forgive me for what is sure to be a rambling, pointless blog post. Despite my weariness, I promised myself I would write a post today because Microblog Mondays are part of my normal. I need as much normal as I can get these days.

For many complex reasons, my university decided to offer in-person instruction, but students have the option to attend virtually. Today was the first day of classes. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I met students in my office via ZOOM instead of in a classroom. Only a couple of my students are back on campus for in-person instruction. The others are learning from their homes because neither they nor their parents are comfortable with the still rising [COVID-19] numbers.

There’s so much more to think about during these COVID times. There are so many ways of navigating academic life that has been remapped. We wear masks and face shields; place protective shields on our desks; check temperatures and sanitize our hands when we enter buildings; we carry gloves, hand sanitizer, extra masks, and disinfectant spray; we are overly conscious of our hands and face; we remind students to “stay back” the magic distance of six feet—no hugs for those beautiful ones we haven’t seen in five months; we teach fewer students in instructional spaces and try to construct our courses so the students build connections through the digital divide.

To make matters even more interesting–here we are in the hottest part of a southern summer, and the air conditioner in our almost 80-year-old building decided to go on strike. So 95 degrees outside. 105 inside while wearing a mask. I had a taste of hell today.

Strange start to the academic year after an odd too-long/too-short summer. In these first moments, getting through [another] COVID semester seems impossible, but I keep reminding myself, the impossible gives birth to miracles.

Imagine…

Love Notes 30 ended a couple of weeks ago with the final prompt, “Imagine.” I already miss my weekly notes from Nicole, but I’m grateful I can refer to them when I need a dose of happiness and light.

For the final prompt, 30.3, Nicole left me to imagine all sorts of wonder and magic:

Imagine…

…if unicorns were on parade every day!
…the mist from the ocean touching your face as you watch the most beautiful sunrise
…if everyone thought Calculus was the most magical language to create in
…if the monsters under our beds as kids were really friendly, lovable creatures trying to love us
…that high fives, glitter bombs, and smiles were part of our day no matter what
…that every person you smile at today has an inner dream incubator that is fueled by your smile
…you are the most gifted unicorn on this planet here to create a special kind of magic for humanity…your possibilities are endless

Although my non-mathematical mind resists the idea of Calculus as the language of creativity, I am feeling quite like a unicorn today–magical with endless possibilities.