We're Not In Kansas Anymore...

Susan Hartley Brisson

“Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”

          – The Wizard of Oz

I think that we are all feeling a little like Dorothy did when she walked out of her Kansas farmhouse after it landed in Munchkinland: confused, concerned and wondering when things will be back to normal again. For starters, our staff here at Olin is all working remotely, like many other folks. Working from home is not like being on vacation, that’s for sure, and all of us on the Admission and Financial Aid (OAFA) team are trying hard to carve out time and space for Zoom conferences amidst the ordinary chaos of home life. I no longer have young children, so there’s no one at my heels begging me to read books and play Legos all day, but I do have a college-age son who is unhappily home from his institution, trying to navigate his online classes and find a new workout plan now that the gym has closed for the undetermined future. 

At Olin, April usually begins the season of campus visits. Were this a normal spring, we would be training our tour guides and prepping our information sessions – generally getting ready to open our office to visitors. We’d be hosting admitted students overnight to help them determine if Olin is the right college for them, and we would be welcoming students and families who are just beginning the college search journey. None of that is happening now (cue the sad sighs!), but we have compiled a variety of virtual resources to fill in those gaps, and they are listed at the end of this blog. **This list will continue to grow over the next weeks – including a video information session which will be launched in April.** While none of these virtual experiences can truly capture the essence of what makes Olin such a special place, they do provide some insight into the myriad of people and experiences that is Olin (check out #CouchToCampus on twitter!).

Clearly, all aspects of life have been and continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Many high schools are either closed or are offering online instruction, which may be very different from what you’ve done before. Your school may decide to move to pass/fail grading, or you may not be able to maintain your extracurricular involvement during the next months. We recognize that schools may opt to change policies, school and community activities have been curtailed, and the coming weeks and months will be filled with uncertainty for all of us. 

None of this is your fault – and going forward, we encourage everyone to go about their daily business as best as they can. We understand that nothing is normal right now, and that won’t be held against anyone, now or later on.

With that, our OAFA staff shares here some of their best self-care tips. We hope that you might find some of these helpful or comforting:

  • Decide for yourself what things you absolutely must do every day (Put on pants? Go outside? Take a shower?). This list should be short, and nothing on it should be hard. Give yourself a break when it comes to everything else. Avoid words like “should” and “productive” as much as you can.
  • Marco Polo is my new favorite app for sending videos back and forth to loved ones.
  • Take a break from news and social media. Read a book, play a game (board or video), write in your journal, etc.
  • If I make my bed every morning, I feel a sense of control which carries over into the rest of my day.
  • Get moving every day: walk the dog, go for a run, ride my spin bike…lots of great online options streaming for free during this time.
  • Get outside! Vitamin D boosts your mood and immunities.

Here’s to a happy, healthy spring for all of us. 


Virtual resources:

Posted in: Susan, All Admission Staff Blogs