Monday, August 23, 2010

And So It Begins

It is fitting that it was cooler this morning when I left the house shortly before 8:00. I had a breakfast meeting and then made my way up to the University by 9:30. Grounds are buzzing with activity. Hard to believe, but tomorrow is the first day of fall semester.

Saturday the Js dropped me off at my office so I could finish up my syllabus (I thought I was late, but several faculty were here and most were putting finishing touches on their courses). We at lunch at a picnic table just outside the ed school and watched new first-years and their parents moving belongings from cars to dorm rooms, walk to the bookstore, and wander around with maps. I had the nostalgic feeling of being an orientation leader/director. But a stronger feeling was the realization that in 11 short years Big J and I will be making the same sort of trip with little j. Eleven years doesn't really seem that far off.

This morning I am in my office, door closed against the noise of students wandering the halls, looking for orientation meetings, thinking about the beginning of college. These thoughts remind me of the reason I love student affairs -- the anxiety, the anticipation, expectations, excitement, the unknown. And four years later seeing the same students leave with the same mixture of feelings, yet confident and independent.

I hope I am never too cynical to appreciate this time of year, to anticipate it with dread or, worse, apathy. I want to close this post with something profound about the future leaders of our country, our world, but these first years, no matter how high their personal expectations, just need to make it through their first week and feel a sense of belonging to their new community, they aren't thinking about becoming president or changing the world....they just want to be able to have someone to walk into the cafeteria with, be able to find their classes, and feel comfortable in their new community. Me too.

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