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President’s Perspective: Taking a Moment

MSP President Fran Brown sent the following letter via email to the community on Friday, October 23. 

Hello MSP Students, Faculty and Staff,
As I sat here on a Friday afternoon, tired from a busy week and contemplating what next week will bring, I decided to take time out for a cup of hot tea, in my backyard, under a sky that is turning from sunny to threatening rain. The colors of the leaves against the darkening sky, combined with my chamomile and (okay, I admit it), chocolate chip cookies, provided just the relief I needed to quiet the cacophony that is my brain these days. I don’t take enough of these breaks, as evidenced by my almost constant feelings of pressure and, more often than not, disrupted sleep.
Fran Brown headshot
My thoughts turned to all of you and all that you are juggling; the pressure that you, too, must be feeling and how you are likely foregoing much-needed breaks that can rejuvenate your minds and bodies. We’re talking a lot about self-care these days and, if you’re like me, that can feel like added pressure to fit one more thing into your already over-scheduled day.

But consider this from Alfreda James, assistant director for graduate students and postdocs at the career center at New York’s Stony Brook University, who writes about the importance of self-care for graduate students, especially those who are first generation or from communities of color:

So I’m working hard to change my mindset from self-care as a time-consuming chore to small efforts — a few moments strung together — that can bring moments of peace. To hold myself accountable, and in an effort to provide some measure of support to all of you, I will be sharing with you some suggestions that may provide relief. I’ve asked our Vice President, Diane Zalapi, to do the same, so you will be hearing from her as well.
Today my 15 minute break helped. The sun is shining once again as the sky has shifted to a brighter blue. Next week will bring its own challenges; I plan to practice better self-care so that I can meet them head on. I hope you are able to do the same.

In community,

President Brown