On March 11, 2020, I was on Spring Break preparing to return to campus when the President of my University issued the first of what would be many Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates to our campus community. In that announcement, the President informed the campus community that the Governor for the Commonwealth of Kentucky had just confirmed the existence of the Coronavirus in the Commonwealth and that the University was “closely monitoring the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and its proximity and effects in the Commonwealth.” The President emphasized that the University’s top priority was now, and would continue to be, the health, safety and well-being of the campus community.
In the days that followed, our President broke the news that none of us wanted to hear. The University had made the difficult decision to implement an emergency plan to help curb the spread of coronavirus disease and to keep the campus community safe. We would be transitioning immediately from in-person instruction to on-line instruction; we would be closing the campus to the public, and we would be limiting campus access to essential personnel only.
Flatten the curve, self-isolate, and shelter-in-place became the catchphrases of the day. A handful of us returned to a campus that we no longer recognized. It felt dark and foreboding. There were no cars in the parking lots. There were no students in the residence halls. There were no faculty in offices. The buildings were dark and marked by yellow tape signifying that they were clean and sanitized. We all worked alone in our respective offices surrounded by a deafening silence while our respective teams worked from home. All evidence of life had disappeared at a time when there was usually so much for us to do and see – so much for us to celebrate. Instead of preparing for graduation, the campus had fallen silent.
Despite all outward appearances, however, the campus community was hard at work. The faculty swiftly uploaded 100% of their courses to an outline platform without complaint, and the staff began its transition to telework. Our days were soon filled with Zoom meetings, Microsoft Team sessions and conference calls. We took our “new normal” day by day. We understood that the future was uncertain and that we needed to remain flexible and nimble, able to pivot at a moment’s notice.
As time progressed, I began to feel overwhelmed and consumed by intense feelings of isolation. To overcome those feelings of isolation, I turned to LinkedIn and I began connecting with legal professionals from all across the globe. In the twelve months that followed, I found a voice I never knew I had. With that voice, I began to share what I had learned over the course of a thirty years legal career that began when I joined the United States Army as a legal specialist.
After twelve months of posting on LinkedIn, I felt it was finally time to create a more permanent home for that past content and now for my future content.
I hope you find reading it as helpful as I found writing it.