As a strong introvert, I’ve spent much of my life longing for more time alone. So, early in the pandemic, I figured the forced isolation wouldn’t be that difficult for me. Even though COVID felt like a horrible nightmare, spending more time at home with my dogs was a dream come true. Even working from home had some bright spots (like the absence of a commute and the ability to work in slippers).
While it was absolutely clear to me that I desperately missed our students and the energy they bring to our campus, I didn’t fully understand how much I missed my colleagues. After all, my days were spent interacting with them on Zoom and Teams and myriad other technological tools designed to foster “connection.”
So, I’ve been surprised to find how much I’ve enjoyed reuniting with my colleagues now that we’re fully back to campus. In fact, I’m practically giddy. And I know I’m not alone: All across campus, there are sounds of laughter and excitement and joy and relief. Sounds that signal just how much we missed being in each other’s company as we focus on the work that unites us.
To provide an outlet for these feelings and a reason to celebrate, MSUM hosted three “Join Us In July” events for employees. Held at different times of day so the events were accessible to employees working different shifts, each of the events had a unique theme. The second week’s theme was “the rainbow connection” and featured a costume contest, barbecue lunch, tie-dying station, and games on the campus mall.
The common theme, of course, is how good it feels to be back on campus looking forward to a new academic year. We can hardly wait.
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