McCANN 16. It wasn’t until this week that I realized I had been staring at his jersey for the last seventy rides or so. Every time one of the instructors yelled something about increasing my cadence, resistance, or output, I would hear, “Don’t forget to hold your head up!” I would pick up my head, bend my elbows, and make sure I had the correct form and stare at McCANN 16 as his jersey hung on the opposite wall of my Peloton. I have always loved sports but never thought I would have a collection of jerseys. Then again, I never thought our society would be social distancing.
What a whirlwind this year has been. Do you remember back in January when the conversations encompassed the idea of perfection? It was supposed to be the year of “good fortune.” Instead, it’s been chaotic, scary, and at times plain crazy. I would never have thought that I would be counseling students about in-home AP administrations, SAT or ACT cancellations, touring schools virtually and watching colleges and school systems close throughout our nation. This week, favorite restaurants, boutiques, salons, and more stores are closing doors to help with #socialdistancing. I am receiving hundreds of emails daily regarding tips on virtual learning, new online academic tutoring programs, ongoing school closings, and updates on standardized testing.
Social distancing has become the new us. It is our “focus.” Therefore, we connect via Zoom and stay home. Instead of living a fast-paced life filled with work and children’s activities, we get outside and walk around the neighborhood. We sit at the dinner table together nightly, listen to teachers educate our children through Google Hangout or Zoom daily, play board games, watch movies and bake in the kitchen. Businesses are temporarily closed, and people are working from home. As an Independent Educational Consultant, I now counsel families on new educational worries. Such as virtual learning, standardized testing cancellations, new admissions requirements, in-home AP evaluations, virtual campus visits, and the list goes on. Clients have a new set of worries because now they can’t afford their student’s college education or their child’s private school tuition. We have either watched our money dwindle in the stock market or spend more than ever at the local grocery store or on Amazon. Some of us have lost clients or loved ones. Others have lost their jobs or are being furloughed. Students are missing field trips, prom, graduation, 8th-grade blessings, spring break and so much more. We are all missing our old lifestyle.
As I pedal my heart out to music and listen to my instructor guide me through my class, I raise my head and focus on McCANN 16. I realize that this year is actually about “focus.” I understand that the world has seemingly shut down. However, that doesn’t mean I have to. I still have a choice. I can ride along and soak up the fears and insecurities of myself, or I can raise my head and get on the path that I was riding before COVID19. I choose to ride. I encourage each of you to think about what your focus was before COVID19 and return to it. You can still fight for what you want, even if it’s from your living room. If you had a dream before the virus hit our nation, continue to reach for it.
In the last two weeks, I was unsure of how to answer my clients’ fears. Now, I know exactly how to counsel them. It’s simple. Do not get lazy. Do not shut down. Do not give up. Continue on with your journey, seek your goals and stay true to your path. Our nation will start high-fiving one another and hugging each other’s necks again. It might not be tomorrow, next week or even next month. This time of zooming and social distancing just may have been what we needed to reconnect, draw inward, and “focus.” Stay true to your beliefs, hold your head high, and find your McCANN 16.
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