Today I sent the following message to the Wesleyan community:
Many of us were awaiting Election Day with great anticipation. After many months of advertising, emails, phone calls, essays and speeches, we were hoping the country would come to a conclusion about who would represent us in the coming years. Voting here on campus went very smoothly, and we know that thousands of students, faculty and staff made their voices heard with their votes. It’s been a very noisy season, and now we get to listen to what others have said with their ballots. Well, it will take some days before all the votes are counted, and so this means staying tuned in for a while more. After all that noise, now we need patient listening. I hope to listen to the roundtable planned with some faculty in Wesleyan’s Government department on Friday, November 6th at noon.
For many, this is just an additional layer of stress on top of what had already been a very anxious time. But we can get through this with the same practices that have gotten us this far: looking out for our friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members; listening respectfully to the points of views of others; finding some additional kindness in ourselves. We should find things other than the election news on which to focus. Watching the news obsessively won’t keep us any healthier than watching the COVID dashboard obsessively does – and I say that as someone who spends far too much time doing both things. Try to find time to relax, and to do the things that bring you joy – masked, of course!
It’s sometimes hard to work in a stressful environment like this one, but I hope you will find meaning and purpose in the work we do together. The University is preparing for preregistration, midterms are coming due, and the research, teaching and creative practice that enlivens the campus continues. I am grateful for that, and I trust you are, too. And it’s a beautiful fall day in New England. Find some time to exercise your patience outside!
After all the votes are counted, there will still be much work to do to as we try to find our way in these challenging times. Let’s do that with patience and kindness, and let’s do it together.