Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Other Days of Change in Early May

I know that many people see early January as a time when most people attempt change--but then again, they often fail.  The time of August that leads to September is also often a time of change:  people return to school.  Is early May a time of change that we often don't consider?

Once, May was a time of graduation from college, but now that people go to school year round, we often celebrate graduations on a regular basis.  Long ago, on a day in early May in 1987, I graduated from college--and I headed back to the little cottage that I would be sharing with my best friend as I started grad school.  It was within walking distance to the Rosewood Health Food store, which still exists, but is probably called something else now.  It was within walking distance to my job at the Lutheran church's day care center, and I could ride a bike to the campus, which I did for the first year.  I felt like I had finally arrived to an adulthood where I could live out my values. 

It may have been one of the last times I would feel that way.  It's a metric I return to again and again:  am I living a life in sync with that which I value?  What do my actions show I value?

Flash forward to another early May:  in 1992, I started my first "real" job at a community college in South Carolina.  It wasn't the job I thought I would have when I started grad school, but the country was in a deep recession, and I was happy to get a job.  The other grad student who got a job that year also went to a community college--his was in Chicago.

I spent those years at the community college wishing I could be at a small liberal arts college.  In retrospect, however, I see that the community college was likely most in sync with my educational values, in terms of keeping costs low and education obtainable by most.

If we could go back to this day in 1998, we'd be packing the last boxes to move down here.  We had decided we wanted to live in a place that was more multicultural--my spouse wanted a place that was warmer, and we both wanted a place with more artistic diversity.  I once joked that I wanted to live in a place that offered more culture than the latest NASCAR race, but at that time, I was more serious than joking.

For the most part, I don't regret that move--only occasionally, when I think about the fact that I'd now be eligible for retirement, had I stayed a South Carolina state employee, the way I was at the community college.

On another day in early May, I was about to accept a position as Assistant Chair of my department.  In 2007, our old chair was moving to Virginia, and because the enrollment of the school had ballooned, not only could we have a chair, but also an assistant chair.  It wasn't my first position in administration.  At the community college, I had helped manage adjuncts.  But that decision was the one that propelled me to where I am today.

Now we're at another transitional time.  We've had several people at my current school resign with their last days being just after the accreditation visit.  It may lead to some sweeping change--then again, it may not.

I need to make some changes, but nothing drastic.  I need to get back to eating vegetables--so perhaps I shall go to the grocery store this morning before I go to school to resume my search for a Math teacher.

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