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We Made it Flourish in Person: Reflection from ICGC 112 (T2, AY 2021-22)

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We Made it Flourish in Person: Reflection from ICGC 112 (T2, AY 2021-22)

By Dr. Matthew Ferguson

There is nothing normal about the new. And yet we keep calm and carry on, as the saying goes.

In the second trimester of this academic year, our small advanced track English class was called back to campus, back to the classroom. For many of you, this class meant the first step into an MUIC building, up to this point only an abstraction in a locked-down world.

Despite best efforts to meet together, the realities and restrictions of pandemic life meant relentless fits and starts. An ajarn locked in quarantine. Several close encounters. Various stages of home isolation. A new campus lockdown. A new campus re-opening. There was good reason to surrender to the relentless spread, and retreat to our devices.

But we didn’t. And we made it work. It was one of my best classes in memory.

You were engaged, intelligent, active, and hilarious. When forced online, you could easily hide behind a muted mic, but instead you humored my questions, gave your perspectives, helped each other, and worked hard. And when we came to the classroom, your energy filled the long-silenced classroom, and the sound of your laughter emerged from your neatly-masked faces.

If there is doubt about coming back to campus, our class is an argument in favor. While we made it work online, we made it flourish in person.

At its best, a class is a collective endeavor. This is never truer now. We must remain vigilant and stay safe. But we must also study, develop, and get on with our lives. At this time, it means living day-to-day, taking life as it comes, and staying focused on the tasks at hand. I was moved by your resilience, commitment, and your generosity to me and each other. Maybe these emergent qualities reflect a silver lining in an otherwise tumultuous time.

We can get through it, and we will together. Because it’s worth it.

Dr. Matthew Ferguson is a faculty member of the Humanities and Language Division.

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