Caffeine During Quarantine; Or, Sabbaticaling in the Time of Corona

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In this article, we will trace our shared efforts to make productive use of Spring 2020 sabbaticals while living under the mandatory stay-at-home orders issued in our region (the New York City metro area). Being on sabbatical in the spring meant that we were spared some of the challenges of our emergency campus shut-down and the pressure of immediately re-orienting to fully remote instruction. Many of our colleagues reminded us how lucky we were to be on sabbatical during this difficult time. But we didn't feel lucky. We felt isolated. We felt a deep sense of loss for the sabbaticals we had earned and had planned for so long-- semesters that involved research and data collection in international locations, presentations of in-progress scholarship at professional conferences, time to work from home while kids were in school; unfurling in our favorite yoga, dance, and Pilates classes; and even the luxury of mid-morning coffee hours, mid-week lunches, and late afternoon happy hours that are too rarely on our typical semester calendars.

Specifically, we will explore how a Zoom writing accountability group we began in late March grew into a bi-weekly (6 hours per week) support group that helped us let go of our prior sabbatical expectations, set and accomplish new professional goals, and navigate the personal difficulties COVID-19 presented, challenges that included single-parenting and eldercare during the pandemic, re-location from a studio in NYC back to a multi-generational family home in the suburbs, and health problems exacerbated by the difficulties of accessing medical care during the lock-down. Weaving together artifacts such as email messages, text messages, handwritten notes, and professional documents produced during this period of lock-down and restriction, we will compose a braided narrative, writing as one voice and as multiple voices thinking, talking, working, living, loving, and losing in, around, and through this pandemic.


Copyright 2021 The Repository at St. Cloud State

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Publication Title

Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine

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Farrell, Michelle Leigh; Harding, Shannon M.; and Boquet, Elizabeth H. (2021) "Caffeine During Quarantine; Or, Sabbaticaling in the Time of Corona," Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine: Vol. 6: Iss. 1 , Article 21.