Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Last Day... (and Memories of First Days Past)

... technically I have one more free day, Thursday, but today is the last day before I enter the classroom and begin teaching again for 15 weeks.

So many mixed feelings. It's hard to deal with all that goes through my head as I walk through campus...

... first, a strong recollection of those pretty magical, once in a lifetime days of March 1990, my first days in college. Huge university in Brazil (over 50K students, extremely large campus). Taking a super crowded bus by myself to the other side of the city, trying to find elective classes to fill up my partly empty schedule. Navigating a strange building, classroom locations, how to order course packets and buy copies of texts (long boring lines at the copy center in the basement of the building).

Meeting new people, outside of my own little private school, religious college campus (where my parents worked), marveling at how nice everyone was (topic of the very first conversation I had with my future husband a few weeks later).

Now I'm much older and I'm in another country at a completely different university, but the excitement I see in the incoming students is the same I felt. The energy is the same and I know I'm in the right place, I belong here. Sort of.

... I have much dimmer recollections of my first weeks each Fall in graduate school. Nothing really magical anymore, and it didn't cross my mind yesterday, but my first few weeks back in that campus in 2012 were pretty magical, but all that magic has gone away.

... Now I wonder -- will I have a contract for next year again? Will they ever give me a three year contract? I go to the welcome reception and see those fresh faced incoming graduate students and I feel despondent. Do they know they're destined to adjunct life? Have they really drank the Koolaid and thing they'll get a "real job" someday?

It's more bitter than sweet now. My colleague, that I have learned not to dread anymore, full of hir empty rhetoric, so not really integrated with the other faculty, at least apparently not with lecturers. Talking of the need s/he has to publish not to be outdated (spoken by someone who finished the degree in 2012. How am I, from 2008, but hopelessly out of the game, out of everything?)

Yeah, it's tough. So I try to enjoy my last day. I printed and copied the syllabi (though not the calendar for two of the sections) and I'm preparing the name tags that I use every semester. I'm thinking of what to say and hoping that the drive goes well.

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