We Are Living in Interesting Times

By MarJean Knokey, senior director, Columbia College-Whidbey Island

MarJean Knokey, Whidbey Iland“We are living in interesting times,” which is a play on the phrase, “May he live in interesting times.” It’s an apropos statement as we all cope with a pandemic resulting in a world that feels a little less stable! An interesting phrase, piquing my interest, so off to the Internet to find its origins, only to learn there is debate on whether it is an ancient Chinese curse, an English expression of a translation of a Chinese proverb, or an English phrase used in 1898 by Joseph Chamberlain (Prime Minister 1876 to 1914), from a speech in 1936 by Sir Austin Chamberlain (son and brother to Prime Ministers of England)? It appears there are no direct translations of this phrase in any Chinese sources, but nonetheless it has been attributed to the Chinese and repeated through the centuries in famous speeches, to include one given by Robert F. Kennedy in 1966? Chinese or English, curse or proverb, a mystery, but how appropriate for our time?

No matter the source, we are “living in interesting times.” The pandemic is challenging our decision making, setting our pace, and making us re-think how we do everything!

On this issue, we want to express our appreciation to the students and faculty of the Whidbey Island Location for your cooperation this past spring as we faced the issues of a pandemic. The transition to virtual education was accomplished with few bumps in the road. We were amazed but not surprised at how well our faculty and students jumped right in and made this transition. It was the right thing to do to keep all of our Location family safe and healthy. Unfortunately, while we all hope the situation will improve drastically and instantaneously, it does not appear to be the case, and thus for the foreseeable future we will be using the virtual and online modes of learning. Nonetheless we are still available via phone, Zoom meetings, and email to help you with your degree programs and any questions you might have.

We know this year has been challenging, but we are here to support your educational needs! Stay healthy, stay safe, study hard, and do not hesitate to reach out to our offices if there is anything we can do to help you reach your educational goals. Remember, “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Here we go again, what is the origin of this phrase?