New Semester, Let's not Forget

You are enoughAs we begin a new semester, let’s not forget…

  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that we have the ability to help students start off on a positive note. Although this will be a different semester and year for everyone, for some students, this is their first semester of college. As staff and faculty, we all have the ability to help make the semester for both new and current students as much of a positive experience as possible. Our students are going to follow our lead, so let’s not forget to lead with our best foot forward.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget to embrace “Option B.” Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, the founder of LeanIn.Org, and a philanthropist, talked about the concept of “Option B” after enduring the sudden loss of her husband in 2015. While many of us are longing for “Option A” this semester, the one where we are all on campus and not having to navigate a pandemic and all of the hardships that go along with it, we are faced with our “Option B.” Let’s not forget, while our “Option A” is not available, let’s do everything in our power to make “Option B” the best that it can be for one another and our entire Harper community.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget to offer empathy to students and our fellow colleagues. We all have been touched by the pandemic in some way, so let’s not forget that being empathetic, kind and patient with one another (as simple as it sounds) can go further than we are aware. Whether it be listening to someone who might be struggling, sending a “thinking of you” email, being mindful of those extra projects we tack on at the last minute or just taking a deep breath before responding, everyone could use a little extra empathy this semester.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that we must put on our oxygen masks before we can help others. In a society that rewards exhaustion culture it’s sometimes difficult to take time out for ourselves as it feels selfish and a waste of time. If we want to be the best colleague, employee, professor and person for the communities we inhabit, we must remember to take care of ourselves in the process. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Take that short walking break. Schedule that vacation day off. Unplug. You’ll be a better functioning person and employee if you allow yourself time to tend to your own needs.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that asking for help isn’t a weakness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve text, called or emailed colleagues, friends or family throughout the pandemic (and throughout my life) asking them for some sort of help. Although it hasn’t always been easy admitting that I need their help because I’m stubborn at times, I’ve never regretted asking for assistance when I’ve needed it. Whether it be using the Employee Assistance Program’s Short-Term Counseling (password: harper) to talk to someone, using a trusted friend or colleague to chat about what is happening in your life, or simply seeking out online mental health resources, it’s ok to ask for help. One of my favorite quotes by Anne Lamott is, “The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day.”
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that it’s not business as usual. While some of us have grown accustomed to this “now” normal, this isn’t normal. I have not met anyone yet who has mentioned that they have experienced anything like this before in their lifetime. Some folks are trying to spit out the same amount of work while tending to children or family behind the scenes. Some folks are feeling a multitude of emotions and facing unprecedented challenges. Some folks might be thriving as now maybe they have a little bit more time to tend to their own wellness. However, let’s not forget to give one another extra grace and space as many folks are trying to navigate an extra layer of life where there are no guidebooks set forth with all of the right answers.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that we are all processing the pandemic in our own ways. Some of you are starting a new semester with a variety of emotions about the pandemic as you might have experienced deep losses, some of you might be worried about your own health, some of you had to or are currently trying to work and take care of small humans at home and some of you might be frustrated by everything that has happened over these last few months. All emotions are valid and real, but let’s not forget that we are all entering the semester carrying different experiences. Let’s be kind and lead with an open heart.
  • As we begin a new semester, let’s not forget that we are all in this together. We are resilient. We are scrappy. We are strong. We are flexible. We are ALL in this thing together. WE. ARE. HARPER.
Last Updated: 1/30/23