Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reflecting the beginning of a new school year

Monday, August 28th, is the first day of classes and while I ponder just what happened to the summer months (vacations, conferences, and moving aside), the fall semester is always a time of new beginnings and hope. I remember how we looked forward to returning to college. After that first year away from home, it was a difficult adjustment to move home for the summer and August could not get here fast enough. The most enthusiastic students are freshman and seniors. Freshman anxious at the beginning of their journey and seniors thrilled for the end of theirs.

It's been a gradual return to business; last week the RA's, band, and football players were on campus. It was fun hearing the music throughout the day as they prepared the football halftime productions. Friday afternoon, a friend and I had pizza alfresco, and a few students were gleefully lugging their belongings into the dorms. Even in the blistering 90-degree heat, moving into rooms with no air-conditioning and halls with no elevators, every last one of them had a smile on their face. It was fun watching the younger siblings and parents help with the ritual.

Today, Saturday, the dorms opened at 10 am for everyone. It is an exciting time, the rush of seeing old friends and making new ones. Saying good bye to the family as they try to maneuver cars out of the parking lot around the carts and luggage. There will be the inevitable early complaints of cafeteria food and the first order of pizza delivery. Dominoes? Papa Johns? East of Chicago? Pizza Hut? Whoever they choose, the results will be enjoyed whether outside on the patios or crammed into the hot dorm room.

Monday will be full of questions as freshmen look for buildings and returning students get their first look at newly completed facilities now open for use. Some will wander in to the library looking for help. Some will arrive because it's a safe place to spend a few minutes alone. Many will come into the resouce center because they appreciate the feeling of community - and the new computers (can't kid myself there) and free printing. No matter how I look at it, they will not particulary care if I didn't get everything I had planned to do over the summer finished. It won't bother them that I have three bulletin boards to finish first thing in the morning. They don't have a clue (or care) I need to train a new graduate assistant and five new hires, or that I slaved for two days creating a schedule with twelve students to guarantee maximum coverage in the resource center.

All in all, that is the way it should be.

Welcome back!

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