The Relief

I finally have a break! I’m tearing up with gratitude.

This has been the most exhausting semester I’ve ever had. Not necessarily the hardest, although teaching both live and on Zoom at the same time was somewhat difficult and gave less than stellar results. But long and exhausting, waiting for students to drop in on Zoom, sitting in a empty office, scuttling from office to restroom with my mask on. 

The sunny days out the window seemed so distant from where I sat, even though I have the best view on campus out my window. Then the leaden skies came, and at least they matched my moods.

There was the constant threat of COVID. There was a point where 9 out of 60 students were out over either isolation (COVID positive) or quarantine (contact with a COVID positive). The virus swept through peer groups and Greek life, and although I taught social distanced and masked, the random trips through hallways and in bathrooms worried me.

I focused on the task, knowing that thinking about any of this, much less all of this, would break me. And so I became an automaton, checking off each finished class session, each office hour. Not waiting for break, because that seemed too distant. 

Now I’m here, at break, and I want to cry. After this week, I have a week of waiting for students to ask questions over Zoom (and they never do too much of this) and finals week, where their exams are essay and take home. I will be at home, comfortable, during all of this. So, in effect, I have survived the semester.

And I feel like crying. 

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