In August I began my 37th fall semester working in higher education. Every year a new batch of freshman come to college; and where I now work, a new batch of adult students either come to college for the first time or more likely come back to college after having stopped out some time ago. The average age of our students is well over 20.
I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like to work on a college campus year after year after year, welcoming a new class of students each fall semester. It’s like every college movie you’ve ever seen all mushed together……It’s a little bit of Love Story at Harvard and some of Animal House. It’s kind of like Good Will Hunting and some like Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School. Most of the time you can’t script the stuff that really happens.
I guess I’m trying to say that it’s real life drama and sublime comedy. It’s serious academics and utter ridiculousness. I love it. I never hate it, even though sometimes it drives me mad. The fall is always my favorite semester. It’s new. It’s the busiest time of the year. There’s always a buzz in the air.
There’s so much to teach new (and returning) students. For example, R on your schedule means Thursday. Why? Well, because T means Tuesday.
FAFSA is your financial aid paperwork, and yes you must fill it out EVERY year in the summer. SAP is your Satisfactory Academic Progress and it is what keeps you in good standing with financial aid. You must maintain 67% SAP. HOPE, SIWDG, PELL, and WIOA are kinds of financial aid.
We LOVE jargon in higher education and you better catch on quick or you won’t have a clue what is going on! I guess it’s our way to job security.
A student came by to see me the other day. I don’t work directly with students all that much any more. But he came by to tell me that he was switching his math class and he just wanted me to know it. That was very cute because there was no reason for me to know he was changing math classes. He filled me in on what he’d been doing in the summer. He works in Georgia’s growing film industry and is studying in our film technology program. It’s students like him that keep me loving what I do. It’s really all about the students and making sure they get jobs and they having meaningful careers.
I have had the most meaningful of careers and I guess that’s what I want for every one of our students. Since we spend about 40 years in the workforce I think it’s important that our careers be meaningful rather than just a string of jobs. And that’s why I do what I do.
What do you for work? Is it meaningful? If not, what can you do now to change the future for yourself?
4 thoughts on “The autumn of my 37th year”
I loved reading about your job and the students who enrich it.
I work, peripherally, in IT. The job itself doesn’t impact people in quite the way my heart desires, but I get a chance to work with great people and help things flow more smoothly. That’s good for me.
I’m hoping to begin volunteering again soon. That’s fallen by the wayside since I became a mom, but I’m now adjusted enough to life with both boys that it’s important to nurture that part of myself again.
(May I remember to complete the application tonight!)
And you have so much to give. Your heart is big; you have lots to share. Don’t know where you’ll end up volunteering, but the education world could use you. Lots of children don’t have parents to read to them. Our IT students struggle and need tutors. There are many places for you PreK-16! Best wishes!!
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My alma mater uses R for Thursday, too. I still do that; it’s so efficient. MTWRF. I think it comes from a time when bits and bytes were expensive and it was cheaper to program the computer to use single letters for days.
I’ve been in software development for 27 years, except for 18 months in publishing about 20 years ago. I’ve delivered a lot of meh software — manufacturing ERP, stuff for marketing and advertising, more than one customer relationship management system. What makes it meaningful is helping teams work together to deliver at high levels. That’s where the fun is in that business.
Yes, as a leader I do get great meaning, too, out of developing teams that work together well and create good stuff!