Have you recovered from 2020 yet? I’m not quite there yet, and I have trouble even thinking about 2020 in light of those terms! “Recovery” implies a need to recapture a lost but beneficial state due to illness, malaise, discontent—even injustice—and I hate having in my mind an image of a time in my life that is so fraught with pain. I wonder if you feel this way as well?
Still, recovery from a situation such as this can help us rethink what has happened. For example, is it possible to think about this past year as a good thing? Was there anything beneficial that happened—and I mean specifically in response to COVID and its associated repercussions?
For me, the answer is a resounding YES! In spite of the constraints put upon us, whether by the virus, a governing body, or an individual, in my opinion, some wonderful things, and even purifying things, happened not only to me, but to our society, directly as a result of the limitations we experienced over the past year.
What am I talking about?
Well, in a broad sense, our society became decentralized in many ways. And in certain aspects of this decentralization, we became more flexible, more creative, and more aware of what our lives were like, forcing us to modify and even abandon some things.
For example, the most immediate consequence for me personally was in my teaching. Almost literally overnight, the composition courses I taught went fully online. In fact, within one week, my university trained me to use the online environment so that my students would continue to succeed. Don’t misunderstand me—this training and mental shift was not easy. It was a brand-new digital download! But, simultaneously, I became doubly marketable. What? Yes! All of a sudden, I was much more at ease, by being forced out of my comfort zone of the face to face classroom, with navigating around Blackboard, a common platform for courses but which demanded a certain nimbleness online. This means that not only was I prepared for my students, but I would have the option of moving anywhere in the world if I wanted to—while still remaining connected to my beloved Sam Houston State University. This unexpected situation also pointed me directly to becoming officially certified to teach online—not just in an emergency, but by choice, deliberately, with an eye towards doubling my teaching skills and creating a friendly online environment for my students.
In a flash, my teaching transformed into something full-bodied and flexible. I could go or be anywhere to do what I loved most! This was a great thing! In spite of the difficulties, COVID forced me to stretch into new areas professionally.
So, what about you? What changed in your life for the better because of the past year? Name one thing, and ask yourself if you used that one thing to develop yourself personally or professionally. ~nja