Today's Update: Thursday, January 7

January 7, 2021

Dear Student Life Team, As we continue to process the shocking and damaging riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol yesterday, I can’t help but also reflect on the word I have selected as a hopeful theme for my year: peace. 

It seems strange to think of peace in response to actions that were the exact opposite; however, I think that is the whole point. After a year that brought so much pain, loss, uncertainty, suffering and, yes, death, I simply must strive for and encourage peace, for my loved ones, for the communities of which I am a part, for our country and, really, for our world. And the reality is that it has to start with me. 

As I tried to go to sleep in the wee hours this morning, I made a special effort to center my mind and the coming day on finding a sense of peace. Let’s be honest: some days this will be hard to do and it certainly was last night. As I watched the news coverage and thought about it throughout the night, I experienced a mounting sense of fear that I just could not shake. And to me, focusing on fear is in perfect opposition to peacefulness, so I had to work really, really hard to redirect my thoughts and emotions.  

And it’s not about “being okay with” or “not caring about” whatever happens in the world. It’s about trying to find strength in my own convictions and beliefs so that I can find a personal peacefulness, even if it’s just a crumb, through any situation. 

I hope that having this daily goal will offer me an ongoing opportunity to focus and reflect, and I hope it will help others, too. As a leader, if I strive for an inner sense of peacefulness, I can afford others the support and example to do the same…or to find your own theme for the year that works best for you. 

My heart still hurts and my mind will always be challenged to find sense after yesterday’s events, and I know that things aren’t always going to be Scarlet and Great…but I’m not giving up on charting my own personal path to peacefulness. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Melissa