As I write this, we’re ending Week Five of Michaelmas Term. That means for many students, Reading Week is right around the corner. For all of us, the semester so far has been a whirlwind, but COVID-19 has only been a part of that, albeit a large one. Starting any academic year can be an anxious or overwhelming experience, especially when you are beginning university for the first time or starting a new degree. At the halfway mark for this term, it’s important to take stock of where we’ve been to help us figure out where we’re going and where we need to go.
For my undergraduate students, they’ve had to contend with a lot as they have begun their university experience. Each week, I am constantly impressed with their drive, energy, and focus in the classroom. All of my students are taking 3-4 intensive classes while also trying to navigate their first weeks of university life and a global pandemic. It is difficult to imagine being in their shoes, but their grace, humility, and passion has inspired me every week so far. They are eager and hungry to learn no matter the circumstances, and as their teacher, that pushes me to do the best I can for them so they have the best experience possible.
On the PhD side of things, I must admit it has been tough at times to balance all of my responsibilities. On top of my academic ones, I have obligations off campus as well that need to be managed. Amidst COVID-19, this has been a challenge, but as I settle into a routine for the academic year, I’m hoping my load will become lighter and each week will be easier to handle. My amazing network of colleagues, family, and friends have made all of this much more manageable. I am so grateful for my mentors and friends who constantly support me with their advice, suggestions, and tips so that I can be as successful as possible.
As we head into reading week, I encourage you to also reflect on your first five weeks of term to help you better prepare for the second half of it. The train will keep pressing ahead!