I know I mentioned that two years ago I wrote elsewhere that I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and that now, two years later, in a different place, I feel the same way.
There’s this weird kind of convergence here. I think that’s the right word for it, and there are four of us who are equally amazed at how things have worked out to get us here. It’s a strange series of coincidences and odd connections.
At orientation, two people came up to me and said, “oh! I heard about you! I wanted to make sure I met you!” Weird. At first. But here’s the thing. One of my new colleagues was teaching on the other side of the city–as in he was in the city, we were in the ‘burbs. But, one of his friends is good friends with one of my friends from Fancy Town College. So she reported back to him, and he was on the lookout for me. Our other new colleague in English grew up near where he did, in the same state. Her fiance’ and he were in the same grad program, but at different times, and had some of the same committee members and missed each other by about two years.
The new woman in art–we share a name–our first names are the same, our last names are similar. She grew up miles from me. So when she was interviewing later in the summer, the dean told her that there was another person (me), with a similar name, also born in the same city, and who wanted to come back home as it were. Last night we discover that when she was looking for new cars, she almost bought my car! My little Soul–the same one, in the same color, with the same features! Turns out she’s also a huge X-Files fan as well. Bizarre.
We were all amazed at how weird it was that our group was brought together the way in which it was. And we all had a really good time last night, too. The J seemed to merge seamlessly again with a bunch of academics, and I love the fact that he is so comfortable hanging out with academics (my first husband, not so much). Perhaps it’s because I end up with friends who aren’t dicks and make non-academics feel like they are less, so the credit goes to them, too, for being human beings. And this is going to come out wrong, but hopefully you’ll get what I mean–I like that the J is not intimidated by academics (not that he should be–but you know, some people have preconceived notions about academics in certain fields and what not). I think some credit should go to the J, too, because he actually sees value in things like reading, writing, art, history, philosophy–for someone being outside of the humanities, he gets why the humanities are important (and truth be told, I think that’s why our relationship works as an academic and non-academic–he gets that there *is* value in spending time reading, writing, and thinking–that this isn’t just some fluff game where I get to be spoiled and don’t do real work–he sees what we all do as *real* work). And anyone he can find who will discuss Cormac McCarthy with him is instantly his new best friend.
I have also made two new friends in the biology department as well. It seems that there are a handful of new people here who also really value interdisciplinary connections and don’t want to just be insular, and there seems to be this strong connection between the biology and english departments. It’s interesting. And biology and art.
At Fancy Town, because everyone lived so far away from each other, it took months to try to get any kind of get together (with the exception of my lunch dates with my super awesome fabulous former colleagues) going. And so far, I’ve had coffee with one colleague, I have a lunch date with another next week, we had last night’s get together, and I already have dinner plans for next Saturday. There really can be advantages to living in a little college town. And I love that the bar we went to last night was a mere two miles away from the house.
And I have to confess too that even while Thursday and Friday were long days, I liked that we had a two day orientation to learn some of the nuts and bolts, and to get the training on the web systems that we have to use rather than having to schedule our own appts for that during the year or try to figure it out on our own. Plus it gave us a chance to meet people. I’m glad it wasn’t a week long thing, but five or six hours a day wasn’t bad at all. I feel less like I’m going to fuck something up now.
Another thing that I like is that the students are expected to use the blackboard like system here, as are we. So complaints about missing something that was posted because they didn’t bother to check the system fall on deaf ears here. And all the syllabi are supposed to be posted up there–no hard copies made, and if students require a hard copy, they are expected to print the stuff out themselves, and complaints about not having the syllabus or not knowing also fall on deaf ears. So I’m glad that I don’t have to make hundreds of copies of things, and that the students who do not keep up do so at their own risk. So they taught us that system, and it was nice to have training at orientation rather than after the fact.
I still don’t have word one of either of my syllabi done yet. I still have until Thursday, so that’s the problem here. I won’t feel any pressure until Wednesday night because I am lazy cakes.