“I walked through EHS looking for a piece of normal. A hive of people buzzed here and there trying to remember where they were supposed to be and at what time. The usual second-week confusion was in the air. At that moment, I wasn’t in any hurry, I wasn’t almost late to class, and I wasn’t feeling normal. I was on edge.

What had happened to the place I had grown to love during my freshman year? I don’t remember there being so many hand sanitizer stations, I don’t remember being six feet under a pandemic while an election loomed in the distance, and I don’t remember feeling a bottomless distance from others. I was in EHS searching for something familiar. I walked over to an empty classroom where a single person was inside. It was EHS 125 where I, and many other students, had engaged in mental warfare last term against the subject of human anatomy. Kathy Weiss, who teaches that class, was inside sitting pensively at the head of the empty classroom. My momentum slowed for a moment as I doubted if I would find what I was looking for inside, but I continued on. ‘Hello Professor Weiss,’ my voice almost faltering because I hadn’t talked at all that day.

‘Garin! How are you? It has been too long,’ was the immediate reply. The conversation proceeded onward. We talked of struggles, fears and concerns. We also talked about hope, excitement and the Christian purpose. Inevitably, I had to cut the conversation off before I became one of the people hurriedly trying to avoid being almost late to class, but I did not leave empty-handed.

She remembered my name, asked me how I was doing and wanted to talk with me. Someone new to Fox might think that a professor taking time to talk to a bright-eyed sophomore would be quite an unusual occurrence. Yet, at George Fox, this is normal. For Dr. Weiss, this is normal. She may not have realized it, but I left that room with a small piece of normal. I left that room feeling known.”

– Junior Garin Griffith