Back to it.
Today is the first day of classes at the University of Pennsylvania, the place where I work and teach. Other campuses have also resumed or will soon as we get the business end of 2022 underway.
It goes without saying that the days ahead are much more uncertain than the ones behind us. We navigated a fall semester that included masked gatherings, in-person classes, a congested Locust Walk, basketball and football games, student events and activities, and more. It was a much-needed, and much-deserved break from the isolation and disconnect of virtual learning a year ago.
And now here we are again, set to log into Zoom, at least for the next couple of weeks. We’re hopeful that this too shall pass, but we don’t know when. (We do know how, however, and that is with vaccinations, boosters, masks, and healthy doses of common sense).
Students, as you push forward with remote classes and figure out your updated travel plans, do everything you can to be fully present. Remember why you are here. No, this isn’t exactly what you signed up for. But you can make something of it, perhaps more than you realize.
Each year, each semester, I leave you with the keys to everything. Do the work. Commit to a standard of excellence that will take you where you want to go. That is the not-so-secret secret. The real trick is summoning the daily will, especially in times like this. So I will leave you with this additional advice. Take care of each other as you do the work.
See you soon,