Grace, TCC. Grace has been the name of my game, and what I seek to remind colleagues and students to play… the grace game. When my children run into the room during my video conferences? Grace. When my husband must go to work and leaves me with many hours of meetings, many more emails and two children under age 6? Grace. When my 6-year-old has a tantrum because she does not like doing homework on a tablet and misses her teachers and friends? Grace…and crying together and eating ice cream and hugging. And grace.
I have gotten glimpses of my colleagues’ lives through these video chats and phone chats. Kids screaming as they play (or have a tantrum), puppies barking, spouses bringing over a beverage or treat while their partner is on a phone conference. Mothers praying, people cooking. Life all around us in spite of this virus.
This virus has brought us closer to each other and our humanity. The separation created by the physical spaces of our college campuses creates an otherness, which somehow denies each other’s humanity. Like when you see your academic advisor or faculty member at the grocery store and think, “Wow! They shop for food too!”
This virus has helped us see that these physical (and mental) barriers are fiction. Our humanity makes us susceptible to illness but also to grace and understanding. There is new grace granted between colleagues and students. A better understanding among us all because now, more than ever, we need each other and grace to see us through this virus.
We are making it as a little family…Alejandro, Mayra, Isabel and Olivia. Every day there is stress, but every day there are hugs, kisses, shouts, laughter, tears, gratitude and grace. At work and with students…every day there is a new issue but also a new solution. We are moving quicker in some respects, and we can’t move fast enough in others. Patience and speed and laughter and grace will get us through this.
Mayra Olivares-Urueta, vice president of Student Development Services at TCC Northeast, recently was selected for the 2020-21 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. Her favorite meal is enchiladas (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon style), and she loves ice cream and tamarindo. She enjoys spending time with loved ones, which brings her great joy and energy.