Good late afternoon from Starbucks (the Library version),
My “Life is Good” image is closer to what might have happened last week. As I write this I am realizing there is something comforting to sitting at my middle table where I have sat each year since coming to Bloomsburg University. It is interesting to me how many people I have met initially here and then around campus. Today when I arrived, it was only the first day of classes and four students were waiting for me. That was both surprising and gratifying. Those four students demonstrated to me the concept of “claiming their education” from the outset. They had questions and they were wondering about the best way to manage both the class and the semester. It was interesting and insightful to hear their comments and their inquiries. What was immediately evident is they are intelligent, insightful, and committed. Those skills will care them far.
While it is the beginning of a year, it there really such a clear demarcation from the previous years here? Not really, and that is particularly evident as I am working toward tenure this year. The past four years are an accumulation of artifacts and experiences; it is a time to grow much like we expect of our students. What is it that makes one a valuable member of this scholarly community called Bloomsburg? It is the understood elements of teaching, scholarship, and service, but I believe it is more. It is about potential and about never believing you have made it. There is always room for improvement and for learning, even on this side of the blank stare. As I begin work on that tenure process, my nemesis, the picture of John Belushi on the house in the movie, Animal House, once again rears its comical, but frightening head. I remember the same feeling before my comprehensive exams and defense or before my dissertation defense. Yet, much like I tell my students, if you have managed the process well, it should come out reasonably. There are always those moments where we think “if only I had . . . ” (you can fill in the blank). What I wonder at this point is “will it ever slow down?” My colleagues on the other side note that it does seem very different. I guess I am certainly hoping so because it is still stressful at this point. I know there are other reasons for that, but I have to put those experiences behind me. It is interesting that the changes in the program there continue to be never-ending, or so it appears. That brings up a different point. My friend, colleague and confidant is on sabbatical this fall. It is disconcerting to not have him here. I miss him greatly.
Well, I am almost at the end of the first day of the “new beginning”. It has been productive. I have gotten discussion boards posted, this blog written and a handle on what I need to accomplish for the day and the week. It will be busy, but prioritizing and discipline to do it all will help manage it. I am excited about all of the stuff there is to do. I began the morning at the gym and that has kept me energized for the day. One last class to visit this evening. It is the business class that most of my Foundations students have as members of the Business LLC. It will be good to see them in that different context.
Thanks for reading.