Remembering How It Felt This Time Last Year

A year ago during this very week, Penn State made the announcement that students wouldn’t return to campus after Spring Break. I made a simple comment about this in class today, something as offhand as, “Can you believe it’s been a year since that announcement?”

The class erupted with emotion. Several students began speaking:

I remember exactly where I was standing when I read that email. 

I remember right where I was at work. 

I was in a coffee shop. My phone buzzed. 

I remember exactly what I felt.

A few students could even recite Penn State’s announcement–down to the key detail of classes possibly resuming April 6.

Penn State has decided to move to remote learning for all classes beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3, with a plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, April 6, at the earliest.

I took a moment to let students process it again. I remembered that their experience felt different from my experience. I remembered their age, their world, and their feelings as young adults. They needed to talk about it.

This week, I’m remembering to let people process their emotions. It will be a year on Thursday for the Penn State community–a year of COVID changing all our lives. It’s a good week to allow the space to process.

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