I came home from the UWO graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon, in which I saw way too many of our students graduate to feel comfortable about our enrollment numbers next year, to find a wonderful gift in the mail.
Earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to have Dr. Julie Wille Lewis invite me to Zoom with her students at the University of Central Missouri and her newsroom kids at The Muleskinner. It was the best part of that day for sure and probably one of the more fun things I’ve done during the mask era of education. She asked for an address to send a thank you, but what arrived was a giant box of amazing stuff:
Shirts, a bobblehead, a can cooler, copies of the paper, stickers and more. I felt like a kid getting a college package from home. The kids and Dr. Lewis wrote some wonderful notes as well that are now pinned to my corkboard at work.
As I take the annual summer blog break, I do so with a different feeling than I have the last couple summers. Exhaustion, anxiety, fear, anger and more have been the resting pulse so many of us have had over the past several years when we crash landed into that summer break we desperately needed. I know I’m not alone in the feeling that summer is often a time to just lick some wounds and try to reload for the next year.
This year, however, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude as to where my career has landed me. I really am just lucky as hell and I need to remember that.
- Students sought me out at graduation because they thought I mattered to them.
- Former students still look to me for life advice, even as they are long from the days of the disheveled teenager who couldn’t make an 8 a.m. under penalty of death.
- The folks at SAGE keep my books active and out there instead of letting them just wither away and get lost in the bargain bin.
- Many folks assign my books for their class, making a change that requires them to revamp a class, just to give me a shot. (Side note: It feels really weird when I hear people use my name and a number together as an assignment: “Hey, I read in Filak Chapter 5 that…” Weird.)
- You all actually read this blog, something I never believed would happen when we launched it five years ago.
Above all else, I have folks out there like Julie Lewis who are doing wonderful things with themselves, and even though it’s been years (or decades) since I taught them, they still think of me kindly.
That’s a hell of a gift, and one for which I’ll always be grateful.
Have a wonderful summer. Weekly posting will resume in mid-June.
(a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)