As the seasons change and spring is on the horizon, feelings of newness begin to fill the soul. The occasional sunshine that we have been experiencing here is a refreshing reminder of the warmer months to come. Growing up, most people’s lives are structured around an academic calendar because of the strong influence that school has on our daily, monthly, and yearly schedule. After graduating college it was a difficult transition into the mindset of work being the same day after day, month after month, and the realization of no holiday recess or long summer break to look forward to was challenging. Although I only stayed in my first job after college for about eleven months, it was enough time to teach me the importance of self care and finding things to look forward to. Whether that was a night off where I treated myself or a weekend getaway to visit a friend, having things planned in the future for myself to enjoy became very important to me.
Just over a year ago is when the country first started experiencing the tragedy and impact of COVID-19. It started with extended spring breaks, a few extra days of vacation, and a more relaxed work day as many began working from home. At first, students were excited for the extra few days on the Florida beaches and employees were probably glad for a couple days away from the cubicle; at least I know I was. But looking back now, no one expected for things to go the way they did. No one anticipated schools to still be offering virtual learning or organizations with no return to office date in sight. It is overwhelming at times to think about the ways that our daily life transitioned so quickly, and for much longer than we originally thought.
As a graduate student at Messiah University, I have been able to see how the school is doing its best to facilitate breaks and rest for the students. This year they offered a long weekend with no classes but full of activities and things to do on campus for the students. In the time of the semester when students most need a break, it is hard to be so restricted in how to find that. I think one of the best aspects of the Sycamore house is the opportunity that Fridays bring. Although I haven’t been able to join as much as I would hope, Fridays are designed as a day with no work obligations and a time for Sycamoreans to experience and develop other parts of themselves and their life. Whether this is through service, self care, or vocational exploration, Fridays offer a respite from the work week and the responsibilities that come with this year.
Being able to find something that can provide the rejuvenation needed is the first step, and being committed to that time is the second. I know I am guilty of not using my rest time in the best way but instead wasting it watching Netflix or aimlessly searching the internet. I hope that in these remaining few months in the Sycamore house, we can all be committed to letting ourselves find rest and absorbing the new life and refreshing air that comes with Spring and Summer. I hope that we can recognize the year we have experienced, and are still experiencing, and be able to identify ways to help ourselves feel joy, feel rested, and feel equipped to finish our placements, our academic years, and our time in this community. Another transition is on the horizon for us all, and I am excited and hopeful that we can find rest as we continue on through this next season.