Understandably, these facts may result in mixed emotions:
The latter question is the easiest to answer – a very resounding YES. Your hard work preparing for the Fall semester WILL pay off. It already has! IT community members have contributed enormously, preparing and supporting McMaster University student, staff and faculty with the many changes and challenges that have unfolded since March. It has already paid off and will continue to provide a foundation for the weeks ahead as we enter this new semester. Without your commitment, creativity and high productivity over the last 5 months, the institution would not be as prepared as it is – that is worth celebrating. Thank you, for your dedication and your effort! You did it!
As we come to the end of the summer, it is also worth reflecting on the fact that, yes, it has been more than 5 months (almost 6!) since we started our work from home experience. And we have more months of WFH to come. It is never too late to adjust your work at home routine, technology tools, and other elements that can help you feel as prepared and at ease as possible from an environmental perspective. Do not hesitate to reach out to a peer, Manager or Director to ask for guidance, support, tools, or advice on how to continue to adjust to make the best of this situation. Learn from others who have lessons to share that can help you to improve or better understand how to continue to adapt to this work from home experience.
And just because the summer is ‘falling’ away, it doesn’t mean we have to stop being good to ourselves! You can still have BBQs, eat watermelon, get outside to walk and bike, open your windows to enjoy beautiful (and, less humid, but not today), sunny fall days. Make the most of each day. There are lots of great things to do! And don’t forget that the Human Resources team has a fantastic array of Well Being resources for all of us, a great perk at McMaster that can contribute to our individual journey.
Finally, let’s all douse ourselves with extra layers of kindness and empathy as we start our Fall semester so we can consider how others are going to be thinking and feeling. Thousands of students will be navigating a new kind of learning experience. Hundreds of instructors will be striving to provide the best experience they can for their students using tools they are less familiar with in a context that is equally unfamiliar. And all of you, individually and together, will be supporting students and faculty, and each other on all of these platforms. Let’s keep that in mind. Be a helper! Be a cheerleader! Be a kind word on a hard day! Be a bringer of humour and encouragement! Positivity is contagious!
Have a great week and a lovely long weekend, everyone. And thank you again for all you have done, are doing, and will do, to make Fall 2020 a fantastic semester.