Oh, blog. It’s been a long time for you and I, hasn’t it? I can’t begin to explain what exactly took me away from writing for more than myself, but for a long time I’ve felt disconnected from the writerly part of my brain—she was there, but we weren’t on speaking terms. (Writing terms—hah.) In many ways, I think I felt that as a professor I ran the risk of repercussions from administrators and students in some capacity should I truly be myself on here. And then there was housing myself with a person who couldn’t cherish education or intelligence—my own or that which I passed along—and made it known so often that I stopped cherishing my own gifts.
Still, two years and a tidbit after teaching for the first time, and almost a full year after my last entry, I’m now less than two months away from saying goodbye to what I then endearingly called “the other side of the desk.”
Before I started teaching, I had put it off when the offer came up—twice. I was afraid to try it and find that the thing I had worked my entire educational life toward was something I didn’t truly enjoy. But sometimes we need to try things and find out we don’t enjoy them. Sometimes we need to reach a point of actually running into the wall to know we need to turn around and find another way to go. And here we are. I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. I broke my nose on the wall. And now I’m done.
I have adored my students—most of them. I love that moment when I’m reading one of their drafts and see that change start to happen. Maybe the organization is a bit better, or they finally learned to use that dash or semi-colon. Maybe in a line of beautifully written text a spark of themselves is coming out of the monotonous burden placed on them by years of research papers on subjects they care nothing about. I’m very tough on them. And for that reason, there’s this sense of pride I have in them that I know they’re never going to comprehend or recognize from me, but it’s there nevertheless.
I will miss them.
I loved, too, the parts that others find boring—organizing the course, building the e-learning site, putting together a syllabus, thinking up assignments, making forms and schedules and all of the office-y things that most people roll their eyes at having to do.
But everything else—of the bureaucracy, the administrative nightmares, the feeling of being seen as a warm body to place in a room—that I can’t take anymore.
It’s been a year of transition. Of reacquainting with my own strength and realizing that just because one path was the right one for a while, doesn’t mean it will be for always. And that is as much true in career as it is personally. I didn’t realize how much stress I had been carrying out of a sense of loyalty, duty, love, purpose, responsibility—to my job, my students, a relationship. But never to myself. It was in August that I untied the ropes and let myself be free of two big weights that were crushing me and it’s been like meeting an old friend in getting back to being me.