Posts by Molly Seaman
Molly Seaman ’21
COVID-19 has been easy for no one. I could tell you my sob story, about how my semester abroad was cut short and about how my place of residence has changed six times in the last six months. I could tell the stories of people who were affected much more significantly by the pandemic, stories from voices that have been systematically silenced for centuries and now, arguably, more than ever before. These stories are important to hear. It is also vital to reflect on the vestiges of goodness that are left, to form community and understanding around the positive even if the positive feels so outweighed by the negative at the moment, and this will be the focus of my article.
Even though classes are online and many extracurriculars are limited or canceled entirely, I am still overjoyed that I am a Colorado College student in particular. I came to Colorado College for a lot of reasons, and even though I cannot take advantage of most of those reasons now, I remain connected to and grateful for the community that I have now been a part of over the last three years.
It has been arduous for the administration to tackle the issues presented daily by the continuing pandemic, and I know the students are bewildered by the constant changes regarding policy, student life, and campus resources. I have been. However, after participating in COVID-19 task force meetings and after sitting in on Office of Communications meetings for months, I know that the number one priority of the administration right now is the students, as it should be. On the academic side, many if not all professors are going above and beyond.
I am currently enrolled in a class titled Topics in French Culture: The Discipline of Love, which is taught by Professor Alistaire Tallent. Professor Tallent built room into the syllabus for extended deadlines, extra classes, and modified assignments to render class in the age of a pandemic a little bit more manageable. I am grateful for this compassion, as the malaise caused by COVID-19 has certainly affected my productivity. Professor Tallent takes time at the beginning of each Zoom call to ask all seven students in my class how we are doing. She creates a safe enough space that my classmates and I answer honestly, and we share both the disappointments and the victories presented by the current state of the world.
Aaron Cohick, printer of The Press at Colorado College, has been incredibly supportive as I pursue my letterpress-printed thesis despite the circumstances. He invites students affiliated with The Press to participate in virtual artists’ talks, and he asked me to communicate more ideas regarding creating a community around The Press this year. He encourages me to pursue the vision I have had for my thesis in full, and he promises me to provide any support he can, whether that can be in the printing studio together or not. We are hoping it will be possible for me to access The Press soon, so long as I continually test negative for COVID-19.
I speak with my best friend almost every day over the phone, as he is currently in quarantine, living in Mathias Hall. We talk about all the adventures we will have outdoors once it is safe again, and we speak about ski season as if we know it will happen. Sometimes, a little imagination can go a long way. While he is of course unhappy to be so confined to his dorm room, we also talk about how grateful we are that Colorado College took the precautions it needed to. We recognize that things really do have to get worse before they get better, but that we are not necessarily alone.
The Colorado College Counseling Center is available through phone and email on weekdays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Urgent appointments are available daily, and sessions are free while students are in quarantine. While we are paying full tuition despite the fact that classes are remote, there are two more optional blocks in this academic school year for which students who chose to take part will not pay. Tutt Library staff members are working remotely and can be reached via email. A research librarian is often available by chat, and books can be retrieved for students, faculty, and staff. Students living off-campus can even retrieve their books via curbside pickup. This is not an exhaustive list of Colorado College resources available both on and off campus. For more information, please visit Colorado College’s Coronavirus Updates & Resources webpage.
Since 2018, Colorado College students and faculty have presented their findings from summer research every year at the Summer Research and Internship Symposium. Normally, students, faculty, and family would gather on campus in September 2020 for a series of presentations and discussions to honor and appreciate one another’s hard work—but, like most things, Colorado College’s Summer Research and Internship Symposium will manifest differently this year.
As a rising senior at Colorado College and as a recipient of the Career Center’s 2020 Summer Internship Funding Award, I am unsurprisingly slightly disappointed; however, I am also ecstatic to be a part of the innovative solution.
Andrea Culp, Gretchen Wardell, Brett Woodard, Lisa Schwartz, Rosy Mondragon (who works for the Advising Hub but has done great work for the Career Center this summer), and the rest of the team at the Colorado College Career Center staff have worked very hard to keep the program intact this year despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The same workshop is offered to award recipients on Zoom twice a week, making the Career Center’s resources as accessible as possible. A wide variety of topics are discussed during these workshops, ranging from the difficulties of working remotely to self-care to workspace maintenance.
The Career Center offers many more workshops than the number required to receive the grant. As a student, this choice effectively communicates to me that they are, first and most importantly, a constant resource. I am able to attend the workshops that are most relevant to my needs, rather than just sitting through meetings to check off boxes.
The wide variety of meeting topics also frames the Career Center as a possible resource in many areas of my life, both professional and beyond. Talking about topics like self-care as much as we talk about logistics like graduate school entrance exams, I have utilized the Career Center’s resources for indirectly related subjects like mental health, time management, and motivation. This flexibility is especially useful in the era of COVID-19, as the pandemic poses a unique and sizable number of challenges to everyone.
I have been working remotely as the Employment Services Intern at Lutheran Family Services since the beginning of this summer and I will continue to work in this position until I graduate in May 2021. Lutheran Family Services is a non-profit human services agency that provides adoption, foster care, older adult and caregiver, prevention, and refugee services regardless of the clients’ race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or age. I work with Refugee and Asylee Services, so I help find refugee and asylee clients find employment and/or governmental aid.
This job is meaningful and fulfilling; it is incredible to be a part of securing a job and/or governmental help for the people who often need it the most. Without the Internship Funding Award from Colorado College’s Career Center, I would not have had this life-changing opportunity. The internship is unpaid, and I would have had to pursue options that were more financially viable but further away from my ambitions.
While I am very grateful for the financial compensation, the most useful component of the Career Center’s award is the workshops. It has been invaluable to have the ability to speak with students going through similar situations as me, to be able to ask questions I would not feel comfortable asking anyone else, to watch others succeed and fail and to learn either way, to share my own successes and failures, and to receive constructive criticism and support, especially as I work remotely in quarantine.
As the summer wraps up, the recipients are beginning to plan their Symposium presentations. Both the Career Center staff and the student award recipients have a clearer idea of what the Summer Research and Internship Symposium will look like each week.
In my personal experience, it can be difficult to be productive while both distance learning and social distancing in tandem. The illusion of a purgatory-like free-time can curtail my motivation, but luckily I have begun to develop strategies to fight against my urge to procrastinate while weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.
I start every day by writing a to-do list. Even if I don’t get everything done, it is satisfying to cross tasks off and to go to sleep at night knowing I did something important with my day. I’m not claiming I’m productive every day—I certainly was not during the block break between Block 7 and Block 8—but at worst I can at least pat myself on the back for washing dishes or for calling about a prescription refill. I also write these to-do lists because I realized that the fantasy of a busy schedule keeps me more productive than the illusion of a bottomless vat of free-time, so I recommend recording to-dos to those struggling to self-motivate during this unprecedented era.
I try to complete the most unappealing tasks on my to-do list first, which allows me to tackle the most difficult parts of my day head-on when I’m feeling most energetic and refreshed. I wish I could say I always stick to this strategy, but self-discipline during the shelter-in-place era is certainly an aspiration that is difficult to achieve.
That being said, procrastination is not always a negative phenomenon. Adam Grant wrote an article titled “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate” for The New York Times. Procrastinators are often creative, which supports Grant’s assertion that “procrastination encourage[s] divergent thinking.” Upon self-reflection, my identity—poet, artist, and, admittedly, procrastinator—also support’s Grant’s theory. I think that procrastination allows me to ruminate on projects. As I ruminate, my mind wanders, and I consequently create more unusual or complex products.
Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not advocating for procrastination. I work hard to satisfy both deadlines and requirements, and I think that’s an important part of being a student and/or employee. However, I think it’s important to avoid framing procrastination as solely shameful, because, managed wisely, the urge to procrastinate can be a creative tool.