I have been away for quite a while. After my rewarding and exciting molecular/cell biology courses I threw myself into moving, both geographically and symbolically. The difference between sunny San Diego and sunny Orange County is not huge, but the one between being a freelancer/consultant/higher ed professional and a full time professor is quite remarkable.
Some years ago I talked to a friend of mine, a “up-to-his-eyeballs” busy professor. He mentioned he basically volunteered to participate in some kind of strategic planning committee. When I expressed surprise that he would dedicate his valuable time to such an endeavor, he replied that he saw a chance to “get things done.”
Well, getting things done sounds easier than it is in reality. For the past month, my first in the position, most of my time has been dedicated to matters unrelated to teaching. I spend hours writing and replying to emails. I spend lots of time talking to people. Funnily enough, I spend quite a time interviewing people.
I am immensely grateful in hindsight to all (or almost all) my former supervisors. I feel also blessed that my life has carried me through different cultures (academia, private industry, education) in different parts of the world. All that experience is serving me well.
I bow my head to the supervisors who taught me how to write politically correct emails with copies to strategically chosen parties. I am grateful for the corporate experience where I learned how to schedule my life through Outlook, and for the recent long-distance collaboration that flowed seamlessly with the help of Google tools. And my deepest appreciation goes to those who trained me, the former breezy postdoc, to be strict about lab safety and management.
Today is a good day. My next posting will be about an incredibly inspiring conversation I had with my cubicle neighbor, an educational technology expert. In less than one hour I got so many ideas that I can’t wait to implement.
But I had the chance for this conversation because I finally finished a Best Practices document whose writing I was assigned to organize, found a couple of new promising adjuncts to teach Spring courses, found a sub for a September Saturday, wrote a guide for todays’ lab, posted grades, ordered textbooks for a variety of courses, RSVPd to several activities…should I go on?
But I hope to start having fun now!