Life has been very different for the Ursuline community lately, as the world is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some bad days for all of us, and it can be easy to feel as though normalcy will never return. Despite this, we know that there is hope and joy to be found, both during these tough times and in the future that will come before we know it.
One day this will all truly be a distant memory, and we will be surrounded by all our communities. With that idea in mind, some of Ursuline’s own faculty shared what they are most looking forward to post-COVID-19. What they said is likely not what we expected to wish for most when this all started. Our teachers do not most wish for their big trips to faraway places or for a special occasion. Instead, they are truly embracing how much the little things truly do matter.
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Ms. Lyons of the Theology Department wrote: “The other morning I was walking a friend's dog down the street and a stranger approached us to say hello. I got nervous, thinking, "Six feet, six feet!" The man noticed my hesitation and stepped backward, muttering, "Hello there, the dog's so cute!" I smiled and made conversation from afar, and then we parted ways. It was such a brief interaction, but I keep thinking about it. How foreign it felt to have to put up an invisible barrier. How naturally human it is to crave encounter, embrace, connection, community! My hope is that when this all ends, and life returns to busyness, I will not forget the small joy of pausing to welcome a stranger into my space, and the privilege of encountering others without fear or hesitation.”
Ms. Griffiths of the English Department shared: “Again, I realize how silly it sounds, but the thing I miss the most is my bikram yoga classes. I do everything at home with videos, but I miss the communal warmth and serenity that comes from the usual nightly crowd, setting my mat up next to my yoga-made friends, chatting about the days we've had, comparing flexibility points, before falling into silent lines when the instructor enters the room … Perhaps what I will learn from this experience is how to communicate affection in ways that are not physical - how to tell people I am excited without shaking them by the shoulders, how to tell someone I love them or I'm happy to see them without grabbing them for an embrace, how, for the moment, to tell my mother I'm here for her without an arm around her waist. The thing I'm most looking forward to isn't a trip, a project, a party, or anything tangible really. The thing I'm most looking forward to, when all of this is behind us and we can say ‘oh my goodness do you remember,’ is thoughtless, spontaneous, frequent, obnoxious, squirmy, excessive, stupid, cheerful . . . hugging.”
Mrs. Petti of the Social Studies Department said something that will resonate with every member of our community: “It is really quite simple. I most look forward to getting back into my classroom and interacting, in person, with my students.”
Mr. Bimmler of the Social Studies Department also spoke about the good aspects of spending so much time at home. It is fitting to share this as we seek to find the light in our present times: “I am enjoying completing activities and projects sooner than later. I have started quite a few books or movies or television shows or projects or tasks, but now have the ability to finish these things. Usually I work on them for a bit and make my way back to them when I can, but now I am checking more things off the to-do list than ever before.”
We can all appreciate Mr. Bimmler’s take on our current situation. It can be hard to recognize the happiness around us right now, but he is actively doing it. This is the spirit of the Ursuline community. We will face tough days, but we go through this together and still seek to find the joy in the present. These times are unprecedented, but we will get through them together as a community. Soon we will return to daily lives in which we get to be surrounded by such a caring community. Until then, stay home and stay safe. We are all in this together. Seek to find the happiness in the smallest moments, and remember all that we will experience again when this is over.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.