I've had a great time during my Professional Improvement Fellowship working in the All-Campus Makerspace. It's a vibrant community of people working on projects they're passionate about. I enjoyed going in every morning, getting a few hours of work before anyone else arrived, and then breathing in the atmosphere as the place filled up. I've made good progress on my project and learned a huge amount about the topics I'm studying. And it's been fun.
I fear the students didn't quite know what to make of me. I wasn't staff and I wasn't student. I was just kind of there. But they were very welcoming and let me be a peripheral participant. I got to help out, in minor ways, with a dozen or more projects going on in the Makerspace. And they were just starting to discover what a weirdo I am.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, it became clear that the University would be taking steps to enable social distancing and the Makerspace made the decision to close operations to give staff Thursday and Friday before spring break to plan and prepare for the changes.I swung by on Wednesday and took home my box of materials and got set up to begin working on my project from home. I had realized, even as the pandemic was in its earliest phases, that working there was probably risky. It's a campus crossroads with students from all over campus coming through. So I had been expecting to step back at some point. It was just a surprise to have it happen so suddenly.
I haven't made much progress since I started working from home. I assume that once the excitement over the pandemic wears off, it will be easier to focus and get stuff done. But I'm really going to miss working in the Makerspace and all the new friends I've made there.