03 June 2011

Fresh Summer Start

Once again, a seasons worth of changes have gone by since the last time I posted. We've gone from March coming in like a lion, and out like a... well... lion.

...to blossoming apple trees and bloom filled hanging baskets. And contrary to what these photos suggest, I watched most of those changes from my office window. With an extra large, extra strong coffee in one hand, a highlighter in the other, a book on the desk, and a lecture plan on the computer screen, I watched the weather turn from snow to rain to wind to sunshine out of the corner of my eye.

But the time spent buried in the repercussions of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the details of the New Deal, the nuances of WWII foreign policy and the horrifying unfairness off the McCarthy trials, the tragedy of Vietnam and the victory of the fall of the Berlin Wall... it was all worth it in the end. My first year as a university faculty member is behind me, and as I relax now for what feels like the first time in years, I can honestly say that I loved every second.

Most shocking to me however is not how much I loved it. I knew from the beginning that I was going to like it, and it was painfully evident by even the second nerve wracking, stomach turningly scary day in August that I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life. That's no surprise. What I did not predict was how much I would learn in the process. About teaching, about communicating, about (as cheesy and cliche as this sounds) myself.

To be honest, I haven't really even had the time to process it all. I suspect it will take all summer for me to work through the lessons I've learned and synthesize how to use them in the upcoming year. And it's something I can't wait to do.

In the meantime however, I've been busy decompressing. The week after final grades are due is always one of the busiest, but most fun of the year for me because of my heavy involvement in our university musical groups. The full university symphonic band/choir perform at pretty much every event commencement weekend, and the week before, we keep ourselves occupied with rehearsals, picnics, and our annual retreat to the lake property the University owns.

Making the transition from student to faculty has been an odd, awkward position for me to be in in terms of my social life, as the majority of the people closest to me are still enrolled. So it felt good to spend a few days surrounded by just friends. People who know me not as professor, but as peer/friend who happens to have started teaching here too. Its easy for me to forget sometimes that just last year I was the one taking the walk that three of my closest friends did this year to get my diploma.

And so I spent my time at the lake just relaxing. Chatting with old friends, reclining in the surprisingly comfortable white Adirondack chairs on the dock, reading some Ian Kershaw (part of a well chosen birthday gift from my boyfriend) as the sun shone, my shoulders burned, and the sound of the lake lapping on the shore eased away the stress of the semester.



Amanda said...

Great that you have had a good year. Love the photos. Our weather is bleak and we are expecting our first snow today.

adrienne said...

Sounds like a great year! Big changes, but good! Enjoy the summer :)

lara griffiths said...

good to have you back! and your photos are wonderful. enjoy your summer- you deserve it... and wear sunscreen!

Lupie said...

You started your education career this year and I ended mine.
Educators give so much of themselves all year that summer is the time to give to yourself. Enjoy!