It has been a fabulous summer, but come Monday life as I know it resumes in earnest with the start of the 2010-2011 academic year. I have to admit (in a geeky faculty kind of way) that I am a little bit excited to get back into the classroom with my students. I really do miss the constant interaction I have with them during the school year over the summer. They are such a fun and lively group and they really do make my work seem like it isn’t work at all (at least most days).
Different faculty members like different things about working in higher education. Some enjoy the administrative piece, some enjoy the program-building piece, some enjoy the research piece, some enjoy the grant piece and some enjoy the teaching piece. I enjoy all the aforementioned items, but more than anything I love interacting with the students – that is what tends to bring the most joy into my days.
This year I have taken a step guaranteed to increase my joy exponentially. This year I volunteered to be a faculty mentor to the students in one of the female dorms on campus (this is part of NDSU’s Faculty In Residence Education program). Now my joy will be magnified by the opportunity to interact with my dorm-lings for a whole year. And yes, I made up that term “dorm-lings” as it reminds me of fledglings and fledglings have such promise…so welcome to the newest entry in the Carol’s Made-up Words Dictionary: dorm-lings – those fledglings that live in the dorm that Carol is the faculty mentor for (apologies to anyone who heretofore may have coined the term – please email me and I will provide you dual credit in the CM-UW Dictionary) .
The faculty mentor program is designed to provide interaction with students in the residence halls on campus – many of whom are new to the university. It allows for a more personalized interaction with the faculty and is designed to help soften the transition to the university (among other things). Faculty mentors do all kinds of things with the students – everything from helpful academic things to civic-focused projects to fun activities – each participating faculty member finds their own niche. I am beyond excited about the opportunity to interact with these students on a more casual level than I would in a traditional teacher/student role.
As for what my niche will be – I am going to leave all options open. I will let the experience itself define the parameters. I enter this experience wide-open to the potentialities and I am confident that it will be a very fulfilling use of my time and energy. Plus there is that little thing about multiplying joy…and who doesn’t want more joy in their life? I am not great at math but when you multiply joy by 60 or so dorm-lings I am thinking that is a whole lot of joy! Lucky me!!
Day four hundred and nine of the new forty – obla di obla da