It's that time again, the beginning of the school year. When I was younger, I'd go school clothes shopping with my mom. When I was a middle school teacher, I'd decorate my room (since I had a new classroom each year I taught) with colorful bulletin boards and books. As an academic, the fresh beginning takes other forms. This year, I've been thinking about the energy that our new hires bring to our department. This year, our department has three new tenure track professors; all of them have different strengths and different styles, but I can see so much potential in each of them. I look forward to seeing how their presence will change our department, how we will learn from them and grow in new directions. I hope that the department will be a healthy and supportive home for them, just as it has been for me.
I've also been thinking about those whose responsibilities have taken them away from our department temporarily or permanently. I already miss Sam a lot--although I hope that she's happy with her new job. And I miss Toni, John, and Chris who are on sabbatical this year. I'm glad they have the opportunity to work on their research, but the department seems incomplete without them.
Classes start on Monday. My syllabi are copied and ready to go, but I still have prep to do. The end of the summer crept up on me this year. My mom's feeling a little better. I miss my grandfather. And J.'s in Ohio. This year's beginning is bittersweet.