Dealing with Continued Uncertainty

Summer is ending and another new enrollment cycle is beginning. Or perhaps — probably, maybe, not certain.

Remote interaction like online learning and plenty of Zoom meetings definitely has some benefits that foster efficiency and help maximize situational opportunities for so many. But the lack of face-to-face learning also reinforces the established need for human interaction and learning—and doing a variety of things on campus while together and in-person.

Even the president of Northwestern University, Morton O. Schapiro, recently shared some informative insights in the Chronicle Review. The title of his article was “Let’s Not Return to Normal When ‘New Normal’ Finally Arrives,” and he argued, “It would not just be a wasted opportunity to return to business as usual; it would be an injustice.”

No question, the global pandemic situation fostered more eduprenerial thinking and doing, but now just as we were all planning on a return to more in-person activity, everyone is factoring in a variety of renewed concerns about health, safety, return on investment, and other possible constraints. The result is that a continual uncertainty lingers in the minds of prospects, current students, families, faculty, staff, leadership, and communities that are the home to colleges and universities. The situation is definitely becoming laborious!

Lawlor Recommends

All of this, of course, can be a catalyst for consternation, anxiety, and surrendering to a pessimistic mindset, so it was a bit of serendipity that Kristin Jonason’s article recently appeared in The Prouty Pulse newsletter. The title was “Creating a Culture of Well-Being in the Workplace,” and she focused on the field of positive psychology, which she is studying at the University of Pennsylvania’s Master’s program under Dr. Martin Seligman. She notes that according to Dr. Seligman, “there are five elements to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. These are Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Together, they create the acronym PERMA.”

All of this helps foster a more positive mindset about the life we are living. Ironically, Kristin cites Friedrich Nietzsche in the Meaning section, with his famous quote, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear almost any ‘how.’” She adds, “Finding a sense of purpose in your work and life can bring inspiration and resilience in the face of challenge and adversity.”

So, as you approach Labor Day and the coming new recruitment cycle, don’t let it be a laborious, uncertain moment in time, but a catalyst for positive thinking, doing, and living.


Positive Psychology

A blog post from Kristin Jonason shares more about how positive psychology principles can be applied to increase employee happiness and well-being. (Source: Prouty Project)

Normal’s Downside

Morton Schapiro writes, “What we have learned over the past difficult year could propel us forward as teachers, as scholars, and as administrators.” (Source: Chronicle)

No Confidence?

College counselors speculate about how a state’s response to the Delta variant could affect Fall 2022 applications to that state’s colleges. (Source: Inside Higher Ed)