Choose joy during social distancing

Choose+joy+during+social+distancing

Jordan Cone

As a senior, I am absolutely heartbroken over Augustana’s decision to move to online classes which might very likely complete my concluding months as a student. I know none of us could have ever dreamed that it would end this way. 
As devastating as it is, I am grateful to Augie administration, faculty and staff for so carefully weighing all the options, for taking a lot of time to make this decision and for giving us hope that we might return to campus one day before having to say good-bye.* It would be so easy to wallow in the despair that I’m sure we all feel right now, but I want to challenge you – and myself – to do the opposite. 
One thing that my time at Augustana has taught me is that there is joy to be found in every situation – that perspective is everything. So:

  • I may never get to walk into Old Main again to sit in Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Yaschur’s MJMC 250 class, but how lucky was I to find a major that I loved so much. 
  • My next screenplay won’t be workshopped at a giant table in Denkmann Memorial Hall, in the last Creative Writing class I’ll ever take, but boy do I feel so lucky to have a professor like Brett Biebel who has emailed my classmates and I at every step of this process. 
  • I will probably never reach my goal of getting the Observer staff out of the office by 10 p.m. on a Tuesday Layout Night, but I am so grateful for an organization that gave me a family and an opportunity to do something I love. 
  • Yes, I may be missing out on the traditional last two months of my college career, but I am so appreciative of the three and a half years I did spend on our campus. Years that challenged me, shaped me and blessed me with some really great memories and even better people. 

I dare you to try it.
It is at such an uncertain time, that I am so certain of the decision 18-year-old Jordan made to attend Augustana College. 
We all still have a lot of questions, but our college continues to fight for us by innovating new ways to provide the education and experience we were promised, and that, is something we can celebrate.
Though we as students are no longer within walking distance from one another, we are not alone. Our community will continue to be facilitated in new and unconventional ways – there is hope. (But also, call your friends. Tell them you love ‘em.) 
It is okay to be upset – I myself have tears streaming down my face as I write, grieving the loss of my final Augie moments. To my fellow seniors: this sucks, handsdown. But you all have great things awaiting you post-graduation – cling to that. To the students who get to return to Augustana in the fall: please, cherish your time here. To the Augustana community: choose hope.
 
*We are hopeful that before the end of semester we may be able to re-open campus and offer some services and opportunities. This would mean you could choose to continue distance learning from campus, with potential access to faculty office hours, more library resources, and in-person support from CORE or the Learning Commons,” President Bahls wrote in an email sent March 18.