By Rebecca Rue
The possibility of a faculty strike loomed over us all from day one of the semester back in August.
It truly did not seem possible that it would actually happen.
As Oct. 19 drew closer, the fear and stress built up more and more, and that was not helped by the news embargo on the last weekend before the strike announcement starting Oct. 14.
We waited on the edge of our seats to hear the news regarding the agreement between PASSHE and APSCUF, and by the end of the weekend, we knew.
There had been no communication of good news a couple days out, and the likelihood that we would be in the clear was nil.
As Tuesday rolled around, the stress was at an all-time high.
Would we have class the next day? Should we do our homework, or should we get sleep instead and wake up early to accomplish our tasks?
It was excruciating, and sleep was a distant idea that night.
At 5 a.m., I woke up to my alarm and checked social media since APSCUF.org had crashed.
“ON STRIKE!” in capital letters was all I saw everywhere.
My heart sank and tons of thoughts raced through my brain.
How long will this last?
I am supposed to graduate this semester, will I still be able to?
I cannot believe it has actually reached this point.
I wanted to work ahead on my classwork to give myself leeway when we got back to school, but it was not easy.
It was incredibly hard to concentrate because the impact of the strike was completely overwhelming.
I was angry because I felt like PASSHE did not care about myself or my teachers by letting it get to this point.
I was immensely proud of my fellow students and teachers for banding together and sticking up for what was right.
Social media, especially Twitter, contained a bunch of different updates by professors, APSCUF, students, the state system, student senate, etc.
It became addicting to keep checking who had what to say and when.
I knew it was serious, but it hit me more once I realized national news outlets were covering what was happening to us.
When your school makes the New York Times, I don’t believe that there is much else that can make a better definitive statement of severity.
When I came to campus on Oct. 20 and saw the strike for the first time by the front entrance, my heart stopped.
It was shocking and devastating to see the situation we were left with in person.
As I moved around campus, I felt this insidious presence.
The impact of the strike seemed to saturate the air.
I found it impossible to concentrate on anything else, and had to go home to try to get some work done.
When the end of the strike was announced on Oct. 21 in the afternoon, I was elated.
My December graduation and all the work and money I had put into this semester were no longer being threatened.
My teachers had fought and won. I was so proud of them.
Ultimately, this strike taught me that your own actions and words have an impact on those around you, and can have far-reaching effects.
It is important to always fight for what you believe in and to not to give in.
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