Here we go! It’s the first day after our extended spring break, and classes have started again. I hope you are reasonably well settled. By now, many of you have been in touch with your professors to do a trial run in our new online environment, and perhaps attended an optional class or started on assignments. I’ve been impressed by how many students and faculty have said how much they are looking forward to jumping back in. We are a community of eager learners!
What is it like to work in unusual circumstances? It will look a little different for each one of us. I’m writing to you from my kitchen, with the laptop perched on the counter, and it feels odd, to say the least, that I can’t be in Old Main seeing the campus community pass by my windows, or stopping in at Blue Line for coffee or lunch. Perhaps you’ve found, as I have, that it takes a different kind of discipline to focus on work done almost exclusively from a digital device, without others in the same room. I urge you to find your rhythm. Set goals. And make use of resources.
Speaking of resources, I want to point out some of the many forms of support and fun at your disposal. F&M is still here for you! Beyond your professors, the Quantitative & Science Center and the Writing Center are taking virtual appointments. OSPGD is open for business. The Student Wellness Center is offering on-call counseling services; during evenings or on weekends, call the front desk (717-544-9051) and follow the prompts.
F&M’s Virtual Quad also awaits you, with “distant socializing” available through the Mindfulness Program, the Alice Drum Women’s Center, the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House, Trivia Tuesdays, plans for a Netflix party this coming Saturday, and more.
We also continue to update the COVID-19 resources on the F&M website. There will be new “Information for Current Students” posted today regarding credits/reimbursements for on-campus room and board and student employment.
We are working together even while we stay apart. Please know that we’re thinking about you on this Monday as we launch a new way of teaching and learning. I know we’ll do it well. Our great faculty will bring the same devotion and pedagogical skill to this endeavor that they apply every day, in every instructional setting, in every course. And you will bring your best thinking, well-honed analytical skills, collaborative energy, and hunger for learning to this grand experiment born of necessity.
Take good care of yourselves!
Barbara K. Altmann