When I was a student, I always loved this time of year. The anticipation of new possibilities, seeing my friends again after we had all gone home from the summer, and knowing that I would be one step closer to my professional life. It was magic! Even then, I wondered if it was the same for the professors. Did they feel it too?
Well, now I am on the other side. I am a professor, and I know that the answer is a resounding YES! In fact, we get to see something the students miss. During the summers, we are still there. We work on research and teach sparse summer courses, but then there is always this period of a few weeks between the summer and fall. We have a few development activities, and then… silence. The campus feels dead. We are all siloed in our offices, finishing those papers and revising our lesson plans.
Then comes the week before the students return. We have a few meetings, but mostly we just polish what we are about to teach. I like to walk around campus and listen. It is silence, but the stillness is different somehow. It’s like the birds, trees, sidewalks, buildings, and even the air itself is anticipating something. We are waiting for the young men and women who give life to our university.
When the big day arrives, I look out of my office window and see them moving in. Some familiar faces, some new. It is magic, and I look forward to teaching them all. The air is electric, and the lessons are ready. Let’s have a great time teaching each other.