Director’s Corner: A Year in the Pandemic

Dear CASE Scholars and Supporters:

As we round the corner on a calendar year since the universe introduced us to the terms COVID-19 and Coronavirus (or ”Rona” in the vernacular), this introduction has changed the trajectory of the world like few other natural or unnatural disasters. The current reality and perhaps our collective futures will be impacted by the virus and may alter how we live our lives for decades to come. With the development of several vaccines and the possibility of a few states opening things back up (returning to “normal”), I wanted to share with you what I dislike the most and lessons I have learned since COVID and more importantly, what I am looking forward to when this pandemic is over.

Things I dislike most about COVID:

  • The impact this has had on the lives and livelihood of so many individuals and families (from a health, wellness and financial perspective).
  • I miss my family (I had to tell a family member they cannot visit me because of the dangers of travel and potential exposure).
  • The yet undetermined impact of social isolation within our students. (Current and incoming MU students will experience the institution differently and we must adjust to the varying ways we return to “normal”.  The new normal will feel very different than what we have previously experienced).  MU will have to shape what the new normal will become!
  • My fitness needs some work (I gotta get back in shape).

Lessons learned since COVID:

  • I’ve learned creative ways of wearing masks (although I still haven’t figured out how to avoid fogging up my glasses).
  • I’ve learned creative ways of practicing self-care (Taking walks, bike riding, actually talking with friends and family on the phone and visiting friends and neighbors while taking walks outside).
  • Creative usage of zoom meetings for entertainment purposes (not just school/work).
  • Learned a lot about my own resilience and the supportive circle of friends who keep each other safe by not insisting on meeting face to face.
  • Parents have learned to appreciate the role of teachers!

What I look forward to doing when this pandemic is over:

  • The possibility of travel!
  • “Gripping up” my fraternity brothers!
  • Hugs!
  • Going to my first Mizzou football game since I returned.
  • Meeting many of you face-to-face!
  • Discovering the many opportunities that will exist once we get past it!

As we “Spring Forward” into a new season, I ask that you continue to practice physical distance with social connection and continue the usage of masks to keep those around you safe!

All the best!

E. Andre Thorn, Ph.D
Director, Center for Academic Success and Excellence (CASE)
“Serving Students Since 1995”
110 Student Success Center, 909 Lowry Mall
Columbia, MO  65211
P: 573-882-9208
F: 573-884-4353

Indigenous Peoples and Lands Acknowledgement:
I would like to acknowledge that I work in what is colonially known as “Missouri,” and that these were the homelands of the tribal nations of the Nutachi (Missouria), Jiwere (Otoe), Wahzhazhe (Osage), Ogáxpa (Quapaw), Chikasha (Chickasaw), Illini, and Báxoǰe (Ioway), among others.