Joining Together, the World Cup as a Metaphor

It is that time of year when the rapid pace of our lives catches up with us, as the semester ends and the Holidays arrive. It is a time of great expectations both personally and professionally. For the MGA community, this is an intense period. Students have finals pressure, faculty have high grading loads, and staff are preparing for commencement ceremonies. With a goal of bringing 2022 to a successful close, it is important we are stewards of time and purpose, and I propose that there are at least three aspects of this we consider: 1) the present, which demands our attention, 2) the past, which we learn from, and 3) the future, which compels us to prepare.

First, we must actively manage our present responsibilities while acknowledging when we may need assistance. It can feel overwhelming to get it all done and meet deadlines, but there are support resources available to help. For students, these resources include academic assistance and wellness services. For most employees, there are USG well-being resources and an employee assistance program available. I am very aware this past year has been a demanding and tiring one, and I thank and applaud us for continuing to persevere despite feeling exhausted at times.

Second, we need to keep on running this marathon journey of re-engaging with one another –whether in support or in celebration. We are still recovering after a long period of social isolation. Check in with others and support one another in this final stretch of 2022. For the University, we will soon come together in celebration of the graduating Class of 2022 at Commencement. I am very much looking forward to being able to share in the joy of these moments with graduates and their loved ones!

Finally, we need to intentionally steward the future, and the arrival of the new calendar year in five weeks is a stark reminder of that responsibility. We must seek more life, purpose, and engagement on our campuses, and we need each other to make that work effectively. We can take from the past our long-term, resilient, and determined attitude and build upon it more strongly in 2023. I am confident we will return in January as stewards of the future yet again, for the benefit of the Class of 2023 and beyond.

For now, please take heart from the progress we have made and take time to enjoy some celebration and relaxation this Holiday. At the moment, 32 countries from around the world are participating in the four-yearly festivities surrounding the FIFA World Cup and the beautiful game of soccer. I am in awe of the determination and fitness levels of the players on the world stage coming together from different leagues to play together as one team for their home countries. The joy of the fans is both contagious and inspirational as they rally behind their teams.

That metaphor works for us too. Play soccer as a team, work hard, celebrate well, and look forward to the future.

Happy Holidays, all, and thank you for a great 2022!


P.S. My prediction is that England and the USA will go through to the elimination stages, but only if they steward their final matches well!