A blog post by SOLES MA in Higher Education Leadership Studies Student Ambassador Juleane Johnson
“The only constant in life is change.” I bet a Greek philosopher said that…I don’t remember the first time I heard this quotation, but I know it definitely won’t be the last time that its relevance resonates.
Transitioning to a remote/virtual existence has brought several things up, to the light, to the surface. This shift has impacted me very differently as a student than it has as a professional.
The courses I took during the Spring semester and am taking during the Summer session seem to have moved online quite smoothly. (At least from where I sit/stand/lay). In Spring, we were at the point in the semester where we as students were more comfortable holding the reins, had a pretty clear understanding of the expectations, and have built community amongst ourselves and the class as a whole to get past shared hurdles and obstacles. What has proven to be most helpful for me in these spaces are: break-out rooms/small group discussions in class and virtual meetups with classmates for purely social reasons outside of class. Having more in-depth conversation and deliberation is my favorite part of being a student, and moving from a 20+ person space to a 4-6 person space made a difference in how I’ve been able to show up virtually. Being reminded that there’s life between colleagues outside of readings, our syllabus, and projects has fed my soul!
As a professional in Residence Life, safety, health, and security, whether physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically, are at the forefront of my mind for our students and staff teams when looking forward to Fall. I’m in charge of front-desk operations, and in a remote environment, I have taken the lead in fielding calls and emails about navigating the unknown and uncertain circumstances that continue to shift. Not having clear definitive answers and plans to share is VVEERRYY tough, but I know I’m not alone in that
Now that life is a virtual room from birthday celebrations, weddings, dates, gaming, to working out, etc. as a homebody, I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly bothered, but the last few months have definitely hit harder not just as a professional, but even more, as a womxn of color.
It has gotten to the point that what BIPOC are having to and have held and shouldered cannot be dismissed and overlooked. If I was to try and find a bright spot amid police brutality, the Covid-19 health crisis, constitutional crises, protesting, petitioning, fighting, questioning, and dismantling, that would be my bright spot. Facing the realities of the tug-a-war of this moment and within these movements in our country’s history, pulling people back and propelling people forward, I feel all over the place. I struggle with being grounded, having my feet firmly rooted, or having a hold on anything in particular. Connecting, listening, and confronting alongside friends, loved ones, classmates, and colleagues whether to cry, to scream, to be still and silent, to laugh, to smile, there’s no one way to go about it. Nonetheless, my lens has sharpened and has a more dimension, whether in interactions at a grocery store to what I look to accomplish in making Education my career home.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do…if there’s still fight in you, I hope you’re still fighting. “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year. It’s a struggle of a lifetime.” -John Lewis (Rest in Power)