I woke early this morning in the midst of the most vivid dream. A mentor of mine went out of his way to help me, making extraordinary personal sacrifices to reunite me with my family. It was one of those dreams where you feel like you are having real conversations, can physically feel yourself walking, touching, navigating your surroundings. I have not dreamed much the last two weeks. My mind has been full, anxiety high, to-do list long. But last night’s dream provided a wave of calm in what otherwise has been a stormy few weeks. I started the day with new hope.
The last two weeks have served as an incredibly powerful reminder of who we are as a community, not only at Proctor, but within our local towns and immediate families. Our hearts go out to all who have lost something in their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak: loved ones, jobs, homes, interactions with friends, and, for our faculty and students, an opportunity for a typical Proctor spring.
The sap drips feverishly into buckets around campus thanks to an uncharacteristically warm 60 degree sun pounding down on campus, while global stock markets plummet and COVID-19 fears begin to have a real impact on each of our lives. The uncertainty in the air is palpable, and we thought it quite appropriate to share a little good news!
For the last eight weeks, five Proctor sophomores have been immersed in Costa Rican culture, living with local host families, and learning an incredible amount of Spanish. Proctor in Costa Rica affords a language and cultural immersion experience to Proctor sophomores every winter and spring. Studying at the Monteverde Institute Costa Rica and living with local host families, students not only learn an incredible amount of Spanish and continue their regular sophomore level courses, but immerse themselves in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. The sophomores studying on Proctor en Monteverde this winter reflect on their winter term abroad.
In the last week the Covid-19 news has blown in on a variety of fronts - CDC, WHO, the New York Times, Johns Hopkins, BBC, NPR, NAIS - and sorting through the facts and their ramifications is a daunting task. The sources and webinars are ever burgeoning. The news shifts, the facts evolve. Cruise ships are stranded, cities are quarantined, face masks are hard to come by, hand sanitizer disappears in stores, the stock market whipsaws. China, Italy and Iran are distant landscapes, but the Upper Valley and Hanover are close. Emotions run high and life’s metronome seems to be ticktocking at a crazy and erratic beat. And while all of this is still happening “out there”, the shifting and the planning for “what ifs” has a significant impact on all of us.
How to retain perspective and not succumb to “tilt”?
If your mind is in anything like mine, it has spent the past few weeks spinning: the final weeks of Winter Term, final exams, final arts performances and games last weekend, rational (and irrational) fears surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on Proctor, Super Tuesday primaries, and so much more.