I recall one of the first thoughts I had after learning we would not return to campus for in-person classes was, "How will companies account for all this on their books?" After that initial response I wondered, "Am I actually an accountant now if that's my first thought during all of this?"
All jokes aside - we are truly living in historical times. Every country, city, town, and generation is being affected by COVID-19. The shock of having everything come to a halt so quickly definitely took adjustment and now we are all wondering when everything can go back to normal.
I challenge you to think about that old version of "normal" and look forward to what a new normal could look like after the pandemic subsides.
During this pandemic, those of us who are fortunate enough to work remotely continue taking classes in a peaceful environment, with the ability to slow down from our previous daily commitments and reflect. The Atlantic wrote a short article about how for many, this is a time for self-reflection and assessment of the world around us. When everything in your life has suddenly come to a stop, how do you respond? I know many of us are keeping to a busy daily routine with studying, work commitments, and alternate forms of service for our local communities. Overall, our lives have gotten a lot less "busy" with more time to "do nothing." I have taken this time to enjoy working remotely from outside, read books I wouldn't normally consider, and enjoy walks with no destination. These precious moments I can now indulge in have opened up more creative thoughts, critical problem solving ideas, and the simple joys found throughout the day that may have been missed in a busier schedule.
The American Psychology Association recently wrote an article about the benefits of time in nature and how they increase our mental health as well as sharpen our cognition. Our time in front of screens has significantly increased given that classes are now online and we have video calls with friends and family. Now is the time to take walks outside, bike, run, or work outdoors if you can. The article mentions how spending time outdoors improves working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control. The overall reasoning is that it helps reduce stress and restore cognitive resources, allowing your mind to be able to concentrate and pay attention again after being outside. As well as increasing cognitive function, spending time in nature can also increase happiness, subjective-wellbeing, and decrease mental distress. So, how much time should you spend in nature? Research in the article states that at least two hours a week, whether all at once or spread out over a few days, is enough to see effects.
With all of this in mind, I encourage the Auburn Family to reflect on the changes during this time and how it will impact our futures. How we will all take the skills and coping mechanisms with us in the future when busy routines resume? Will it look like taking extra time to relax, step away from the screen or textbook and take a walk? Will it be reaching out to an old friend and reconnecting? Will be helping out a fellow student a in way you wouldn't have thought about previously? Our Auburn Family is strong and we can only get stronger after this.
The future is bright for our Auburn Family - let's continue to support each other throughout this unprecedented time to create even more inspiring work in the future.