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"Like nothing I could have imagined": A glimpse of working from home with President Paxson

Paxson talks work efficiency, finding time to relax, missing colleagues

Since the University transitioned to remote operations in March, students, faculty and staff have had to adjust to a new world of virtual interaction, with both their work and social lives moving online. Like so many members of the University community, President Christina Paxson P’19 has rarely left her computer while working during the past five months. In an email question-and-answer, The Herald caught up with Paxson about the routines and rituals that break up the challenges of her quarantine days.

What has it been like working during the pandemic? 

Working during the pandemic has been like nothing I could have imagined, with days filled with back-to-back Zoom meetings. I can’t tell you how much I miss working with my colleagues in person. Even more, I miss our students. It has been great to see them return over the past several weeks.

What challenges or benefits have you experienced working from home? 

The major challenge comes with being unable to meet with people in-person. I’m accustomed to walking down the hall to speak with a colleague or learning something interesting from a faculty member or student I run into on the Main Green. The flip side is that I’m more efficient. I get more done in less time, since I have fewer random interruptions from my work. On balance, though, I would gladly sacrifice some efficiency for more interactions with students, staff and faculty.

What's your daily routine like? 

I work out at home three mornings a week. Then, it’s pretty much all Zoom meetings and phone calls from 8 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. My husband and I cook and eat dinner together every night — something that hasn’t happened for years, if ever! The evenings are for reading, writing, catching up on email and relaxing.

Do you have any rituals, hobbies or tools that help you get through the day?

It’s tempting to use breaks in between meetings to do email. But, it’s important to actually take real breaks.  This might mean taking my dog Cooper for a walk, starting to prep for dinner or simply going outside and watering the herb garden we planted this summer.

What is your hope for the coming semester?

My hope is that our students, staff and faculty stay healthy, that students are inspired by their classes and that we learn how to be an even better and more caring community during this very challenging time. And that by the end of the semester, testing, treatments and perhaps vaccines are far enough advanced that the spring can be closer to normal.


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