At the end of March, the Corona Pandemic forced me into my home and did not allow me to go into my office. This new normal finds me with a commute that lasts no more than ten minutes ( I am home, but hygiene is still a must). I have new co-workers that consist of a college-age student, a high school junior, a person I am related to by mortgage plus my mother-in-law all under the same roof for the majority of the day together. These individuals, except for me, are all introverts. Their magical I in their Myers Briggs classification appears to be the anti-body for the cabin fever.
Nonetheless, I am dealing with my new normal. COVID 19 has rearranged the daily routine of Americans from Washington, DC to Los Anglos, and all parts in between. Being grateful for having employment in a field that I love, but being the only extrovert in my home has made me do some deep reflection. I have found ways to interact with others outside my house. I readily volunteer for errands that needed attention professionally and personally. I stopped doing this when the seriousness of this pandemic was stressed, especially when the statistics about the African-American community was shared. These days, I only leave home for groceries or medical appointments.
I now look forward to connecting with colleagues through Blackboard Collaborative, Google Meet, and Google Dou. Professionally my meetings have been enjoyable. I miss my colleagues, and the joy of interacting with them brings. During our sessions, We can follow along with our agenda without any issues. If anything, we are more polite with one another and raise our hands to determine who can speak. During our first full week, we had a meeting that had everyone dress up in a costume.
Socially, I had a happy hour to connect with teachers from one of the departments that I supervise. We got to see a new baby, home offices, and laugh for an hour. I also had a surprise birthday party for my youngest child. Over sixty family and friends were able to sing happy birthday Ausbrooks style (that would be the Stevie Wonder Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inS9gAgSENE). She teared up while we sang off-key. The village indeed showed her love.
I had a semi-weekly video chat with thirteen of my favorite college buddies. These very successful husbands, fathers, and friends fell right back into our playful rolls from thirty years ago. During our time together we, reminisce upon college days that have swiftly pasted. Laughter, making ourselves vulnerable to one another, and sharing the next steps that will help us thrive is a result of our time together. One member of our group closes out our hour-long session in prayer.
I don't have the magical anti-body for cabin fever. Making real connections with others has helped me during this month. My cabin fever has gone from a high grade to being stable.
Mark Ausbrooks is the Academic Tourist. He occasionally blogs about colleges and universities that he encounters.