September 28 Day 569: Irksome Day

I spent the entire day on campus in preparation for tomorrow’s return to in-person teaching. I am definitely out of practice and nothing worked quite the way it did before.

The best part of the day was seeing colleagues and friends, picking up classroom supplies (like extra masks for my students), and cleaning my office desk for the first time in over 18 months. The ephemera from the winter of 2020 was quickly tossed in the rubbish bin.

The best COVID artifacts upon return? Faded post-its on my window. I have missed my KanBan the last year and a half.

So what went wrong?

  • I left my keys in the mail room in my rush to get to a Zoom meeting in my office.
  • Then I discovered I wasn’t really in a rush; the meeting wasn’t starting for another 30 minutes.
  • My computer turned on but one of my two screens did not respond properly. A quick call to IT made it sound like lots of computers across campus were having the same problem. Something about a driver update was needed and required a visit by a tech.
  • This forced me to seek a classroom for my meeting. Of course, it takes FOREVER for the first log-in of the year on any classroom computer. And then I had to figure out the microphone and speaker issues. I ended up using the large classroom speakers and the lavalier mic to talk with my colleague on Zoom. It was weird. We did have a productive, albeit long, meeting.
  • The office computer was not yet functional upon my return. So I wandered campus until I found live help. That was good. A new keyboard, a new monitor cable, and I assume a new driver installed. I was up and running. Until I needed to print.
  • There is a move to have all IAS printing and copying happen on particular copiers around campus. The problem is that my computer does not yet have access to the preferred machines. It’s not a huge barrier…yet. I did have a few things I wanted to print out (ideally in color) and the only printer I had access to was B&W with a low toner warning. The classic “shake-the-toner cartridge” and reinstall, did the trick for now.
  • And let’s not mention the broken links due to the website upgrade.
  • I also need a new ID to be able to access all the buildings on campus. I didn’t take care of it when previously identified because…well…COVID.

This stuff needed to be addressed to be productive at work. I would have gotten more accomplished if I had stayed at home.

Feature image was a phalaenopsis. It lived in my office for several years and had flower buds emerging in March 2020. During an office visit June 16 Day 100: Brief Return to Campus, some of the flowers still persisted. Now it is completely dead and dried.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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