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Thoughts and Well Wishes

A Message from Dr. Patty Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs

I want to offer some thoughts about how we might approach our lives together during this time of unparalleled crisis.

Please take care of yourself.

As you work to care so generously for others, may you also take time to care for yourself. We are not in a sprint, rather a marathon. It is my deepest hope that you are finding ways to eat well, exercise, sleep well, rest and meditate. I hope you are finding ways to laugh … it is good for the soul. It is important to find ways to connect to other humans during a time of social distancing. We are all wired for connection, so find ways to connect to yourself and others. Please do all that you can to take care of wonderful and valuable YOU!

Please take care of each other.

We have been repeatedly asked to engage in physical distancing, as best as possible. Physical distancing means creating physical space between you and others (the CDC recommends 6 feet). Public health experts also recommend minimizing the number of close in-person interactions you are having. Participating in good public health practice — which is a responsibility for all of us — requires us to think about how we can decrease those close contacts. In addition to these important efforts, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds). These are some of the best ways to care for others. And, we must find ways to become aware of the most vulnerable: people who are responsible for elder care and child care, who are at high-risk and face medical emergencies, and/or are unable to pay their bills. In the midst of our own struggles, we must find ways to take seriously those potentially least supported.

Offer grace to yourself and others.

As we’ve never traveled this path we are on by ourselves, or along with others, please start by assuming that people are doing the best they can. Know that many people are juggling many things, often partnered with great angst and uncertainty. So, do all you can to treat your colleagues well and right. Be patient. Be kind. Offer forgiveness, not judgment. Allow yourself to offer grace time and time again.

Find ways to manage your emotions.

When so much is uncertain, and we are used to having answers, we can have heightened emotions. Michael Leavitt, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, once said, “Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate.” It is understandable to be scared or have some fear, but let’s not allow our feeling out of control turn us against one another. Let’s move toward each other. We need to be in this together, now more than ever!

Use this time to center and reflect on your life.

How many times have you found yourself saying, “I need more time” or “I want more time at home”? While you may not have been given this opportunity in ways you would have desired, you now have it. Staying at home provides us with an opportunity to slow down and perhaps read more. It is a time for greater self-reflection. Use this time to make sure you are living the life you want to live. Determine how you might invest in aligning your values with your actions.


Dr. Patty Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs