As this semester is winding to a close and summer is just around the corner, SFA students, faculty and administration will earn a much-deserved break from the typical stress of college life. However, while this summer may seem like a great time to block out all the problems in the world, it could also serve as a prime moment for self-reflection by all parties.  

It is no secret that the past few semesters, even full school years at this point, have been increasingly difficult for the student body. Whether that be having to move back home and study completely virtually or living in fear that the class you need to graduate may get canceled due to budget cuts, students have endured excessively stressful times on top of the traditional stress every college student would face under “normal” circumstances. But things are returning to, that ever so overused word, “normal.” Students need to identify this change and this reopening of the University and society and capitalize on it. College is made to be difficult. It’s going to be hard, but that should not stop you from regaining school spirit. This University will become what you make it.  

Another group that was beaten down by the COVID pandemic and the budget crisis these past few years was the faculty and staff. Professors have faced Zoom lectures with cameras and microphones off, just speaking into the silence. Departmental staff faced working from home away from the students, creating a strong disconnect and lack of communication. Custodial and managerial staff have faced stricter protocols and heavier workloads due to staffing issues during these times. These warrant these professionals losing their passions and understandably so. However, changes are being made. Realize that the students are here. They are right in front of you. Nothing productive will ever be done for the students, the University or anyone else involved if passion is lost among the faculty and staff.  

Finally, self-reflection would be an utmost useful tool for the administration. In the same vein, they have fought through the COVID pandemic, attempting to keep the University running. However, during these times, there seemed to have been a switch. Communication, transparency and honesty were lost. With all that has been occurring, it may seem like the right decision to leave students, faculty and staff out of the loop on certain decision-making processes to keep from overwhelming them. At this point, all parties want to work together. It seems that during this time, the most valued root principle of the SFA Way has become integrity, and the value of accountability will be added to that as well.  

Summer is a time for deserved rest. Every part of the University deserves that. However, take the time to reflect and make much-needed changes to better the inner workings of the University as a whole. Rekindle school spirit and the passions for what you do and realize that students, faculty, staff and administration are not as effective as separate entities. Honest collaboration will transform this University. Take advantage of this experience on all fronts.  

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