Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Professor Namaste says...

It's been a tremendous week. I have put two course proposals together for the coming semester, and have been delighted to find a warm and receptive audience for my ideas. I've taught classes, attended important meetings, made new friends and influenced others...

Students are signing up for my courses in droves. I'm struggling with the difficulty of not only being new and fresh-faced but instantaneously popular by default. I came back to my office from lecturing this afternoon to discover this in my email inbox:

Dear Professor [Namaste]:

I just wanted to say that I think class on Friday was awesome. I meant to send an e-mail sooner, but it's been busy. I think the general consensus was that class was much like how things were with Prof.XXX earlier in the semester: engaging, theoretical, and stimulating. I think the activity was a great way to practically apply what we have been learning with some contemporary and very-real-life situations.

Hopefully more classes like that are on the way. Thanks for joining us and taking on such a great responsibility! I think the rest of the semester will be excellent. See you in class-

I guess it's safe to say that things are going well. I'm still a little overwhelmed by my new found status. In fact, I'm blown away that I am now sitting in faculty meetings, and the majority of my colleagues are old enough to be my parents. Everyone has been so warm, so welcoming, so wonderful...that it makes me wonder if I somehow slipped into some subaltern universe of academia.

Maybe taking the blue pill...maybe doing the hard work to live your dream...maybe choosing a path of personal enlightenment that involves giving and being of service to others... isn't so bad after all?

I can now decisively say that all of my hard work is worth it in the end. So, this is what it's like to live your dream...



Anonymous said...

Oh Pish Posh! Yes, it's all so wonderful. Yes, you are tremendously fortunate & graciously grateful. The students all seemingly fresh faced & attentive. All well & good.

But reckon also with the reality that yes, the oldsters will soon be out to get you. With a manufactured sense of pique & vendettas that any mafia don would be justly proud of. And the kids? Fine from the start, until you meet the petulant entitled 'know-nothings', the unmotivated, the listless hulks that just come to occupy space. And those are just the masses, the ones you don't worry too much about.

But yes, living the dream. So much more than you could ever imagine. On a salary that none of the kids would ever envy until perhaps your 20th year in service. By that time you'll have certainly earned all the battle ribbons.

So always welcome the good fortune. Throw in with the cause of civilization. There's few higher callings. Little more thankless tasks. No small undertaking that can break your heart with such damning regularity. And with any luck, after 20 years they'll be replacing you with implantable chips instead of the immigrant labor they've already done in the sciences!

So Go Get 'em! Learn them up quick!
(Whoops, this is not an SEC school, right?!)

Let us know if you need those coats & mittens too! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

Awesome. That's it. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I understand. Thank you so much for putting so many of the thoughts and feelings I've also shared over the past year into words.

I finished my graduate work in 2005 and eschewed a research career with the potential for pretty good money to take a job at a small liberal arts school in Maryland. It was my dream and here I am living it. I love the teaching, the students, the mentoring, and most of my co-workers (nothing is perfect :))

Congratulations on finding something so rare. I know that academe right now is incredibly competitive and you are so fortunate and wise to have grabbed onto this opportunity with both hands. Best of luck in finishing this semester and in the upcoming one.