Life Lessons from the Library: Accept and Make the Most of Your Situation

This was not a week most of us want to repeat. Two bouts of bad weather caused havoc with our final exams schedule. On Monday, not all students, faculty, and staff could make it on-campus to take their exams. And since the schools in Metro and the surrounding counties were closed, the students who were also parents suddenly had childcare issues to handle as well. Then there was a prediction of an ice storm on Wednesday, which put everyone on edge again, and although the worst did not materialize, we still had to prepare for it. This was not the ideal week for any of us.

Still, I was impressed with the fortitude and spirit of staff members in the Learning Resources areas. We were open and staffed so that students could come in to do research, take tests, and seek tutoring. In one case, a staff member slid through a 4-way stop each morning in her effort to open the library. But each day, she got up and did it again. One person brought an overnight bag in case the roads got bad and she couldn’t get home. And despite the weather, the Testing Center kept giving tests to those students who did show up.

Of course, it’s expected that people show up to work, so some might find little noteworthy in what I’ve just written. But what is amazing is the attitude staff members displayed. Sure, most would have rather stayed in bed on those snowy mornings and not braved the slick streets. But once they were at work, they did their best to make sure students were served in a cheerful manner. There was very little whining, and most people found ways to joke and make the days pleasant for both their students and their colleagues.

Students did the same. Now we did have one who snapped at a library staff member because he didn’t think he should have to drive on bad roads simply to take a final. But in general, students were grateful the library was open. They took the opportunity to come in, do make-up work, or just hang out on the computers until the roads cleared a bit.

While this week was fraught with problems, it was also a good example of people making the best of a less-than-optimal situation and proving that a cheerful attitude can improve such times.

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