Life has suddenly become very weird. There are certain things that happen in your lifetime that you know are history-making events. For many of you the first one you remember is 9/11/2001. For some of you it may be the unfortunate demise of the Space Shuttle Challenger. For me it was the resignation of Richard Nixon. I was a young girl and my family was visiting with friends. I remember wanting to play, but my father said I needed to watch this on TV because it was history. He was right and I am grateful. And now we are once again watching history unfold before our eyes.
We have arrived at a point in our world where everyone is making major sacrifices for the greater good. We are all being asked to take one for the team. It’s not an unusual concept. We do it all the time. A football lineman takes a hit to protect the quarterback. A basketball player intentionally fouls the other team to stop momentum. A family foregoes a vacation because a child needs braces. A student rents textbooks instead of buying so that extra money is available for dog food. I buy secondhand clothes for myself to better afford new for my husband. We have all at some point made a sacrifice to allow for others to have something.
We as a country have been asked to keep our distance from each other. Penn State is venturing into a world where not only are all classes being taught remotely, but all major services are also being offered from a distance. And we are very fortunate to be in a good position to be able to do so. The technology we have available to us is going to make this much easier that it would have been only 10 or 15 years ago. It’s very strange to be swapping in-person contacts for phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings. But life has sent us a curve ball. And we all need to take one for the team.
There are a lot of things we don’t know right now. Including how long our new social distancing lifestyle will last. But we should focus on the things we do know. Your Penn State Law faculty and staff are still here for you. We may not be in the building that is our home away from home, but we are here for you. The quality of education that brought you to Penn State will continue. That familial feel our community prides itself on is still here. I am embracing the opportunity to employ new (to me) technologies that will improve my services for the long term, not just for the duration of this weird time in life. And I’m not heart-broken that every day is casual Friday and I can have my cat on my lap while I work now. I’m trying to keep myself focused on the positive things and the things I actually can control. We are all in this together (from a distance), taking one for the team. We can do this. Because WE ARE! And someday I hope we can look back on this time and think, “Wow, that was a huge overreaction!” And that’s how we’ll know it worked.