Remember to Celebrate

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Just a few short weeks ago, I thought that I would spend the past week attending campus celebrations and culminating events and crafting my remarks for what would be my first San Francisco State University Commencement. Having celebrated 12 graduation seasons in the CSU, I knew what to look forward to — senior performances, research competitions, beautiful and touching decorations and messages on the caps of graduating students, and the smiles and tears of thousands of graduates and their families. But this was going to be particularly special as I would get to celebrate with all of you as part of the Gator family that I so quickly came to love this past year.

Instead, I write this from my home where, instead of all this, I attend endless Zoom meetings, work with colleagues to plan a successful fall semester and try to remain as connected to as many of you as I can remotely. As I have said before, it is okay to mourn all that we lost, keeping in mind that some among us are experiencing unimaginable loss. But I want to stress now that we also need to celebrate what we have accomplished over these last incredible weeks.

As the semester ends this week, stop and congratulate yourself for things large and small. For learning how to use Zoom, for learning how to share videos remotely (this was a really tough one for me!), for learning how to focus without the rhythms of a highly structured day or with noise and family around you. Congratulate yourself for having found a face covering and for wearing it in public and for having mastered the directions for how to navigate supermarket aisles (a tough one for my husband!). Congratulate yourself for whatever it is you have had to do differently and for getting it done. Doesn’t matter if it was perfect, you got it done.

Recently, two students emailed me to share selfies they had taken with me earlier this semester. One student I bumped into near Seven Hills, the other outside my office building. Both have stayed in touch to share their stories and to reach out for help or advice. Like many of our students, they worked hard to get here and continue to work hard to succeed. They are why we do this. They are why we will continue to do this and continue to do it as well as we can.

Miguel holding a box of snacks with Lynn (Left) and Juthaporn with Lynn (Right)

With Miguel and Juthaporn earlier this semester and before physical distancing

So, thank you, Miguel and Juthaporn. Thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for making me smile, and thank you for reminding me that even now I have the best job in the world.

I encourage you all to join me this week to celebrate the end of the term with a virtual performance by the School of Music’s Alexander String Quartet. And then again on June 18 as we celebrate the Class of 2020.

We made it. Celebrate it!


Lynn's signature

Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.