The academic calendar is a distinct measure of time. August brings an onslaught of activities as we prepare to welcome our new and returning students. We say, “Happy New Year” right about the time folks, in other walks of life, celebrate Labor Day. To those of us in the academy, the fall signifies new starts, new energy, and new hope. As winter holidays approach, students scatter to their families and professors and staff hunker down for a brief respite from the swirl of the season. In hallways and over coffee we talk about how quickly the fall semester has gone, and begin again anticipating the start of the “real” New Year.
Spring semester starts early, in fact a couple days after New Year’s Eve we welcome transfer students, get them settled with rooms, meal plans and schedules. January in New Orleans also signifies the start of Carnival. Between new classes, new activities, the approach of Mardi Gras and spring break…the time literally flies like a NYX bedazzled purse off a passing float! The senior tradition of 100th night (100 nights before graduation) is upon us, and seniors are wondering “where has all the time gone?”
April/May might be as busy as late August and September. These are the months every office and department squeezes in anything they may have wanted to do but have not done yet! The college is full of graduation revelry from student awards receptions to the annual senior tradition “Maroon & Gold.”Here I pause with the President, before his toast to the graduating class, and marvel that their time is coming to an end; graduation is but a day away. It’s a bittersweet time.
The energy new and returning students bring in August has you falling in love with your work over and over again. It’s the excitement of new possibilities!Similarly, when the last student crosses the stage at graduation you can’t help but feel as though you are breathing a sigh of relief. That sigh is the call of summer. Summer is the time to recharge, regroup, and recover. Summer is the season of renewal; a time to go deeper with our planning, catch up on professional reading and writing. Summer is here and it too, will fly by…and in early August we’ll be ready to say “Happy New Year!”