No, I’m not lost in time and space.* It’s September 1, and the university campus is alive with preparations for the new academic year, which officially starts at the end of this month. I absolutely love this time of year. There is an almost palpable sense of promise in the air: new students are arriving for the first time; new researchers are eager to get cracking on their projects; returning students are gearing up to begin again with every good intention and resolution; teaching staff are embarking on new and revised modules. The weather is changing to match: the mornings have a nip to them, the leaves are just becoming tinged with gold, and the whole atmosphere is one of transitions and new starts. It’s exhilarating.
For the first time in 10 years, I’m beginning the academic year in a new department. Having completed my PhD this spring and graduated this summer, I’ve chosen a career in university administration, which is giving me a fresh perspective on this new academic year. While no academic’s summer is ever as empty as they would like (even though they always start with such promise – the end of teaching! No research seminars! No meetings! I’ll write 30,000 words! I’ll transcribe that manuscript! I’ll do ALL MY FILING! Then, suddenly, it’s week 1 again…), this summer I’ve become more aware than ever of how the wheels of the university just do not stop turning over June, July and August. So much happens: August resits, graduations, admissions, timetabling… on top of that, I’ve got a new set of degree courses and modules to become familiar with, new working relationships to develop, and so much to learn!
Starting a blog has been on my mind for a while and right now seems to be the perfect time of year to do so. I’m embarking on my new career as a stealth medievalist and administrator, I’m finding my place in a new department, and I’m getting stuck into some new academic projects (which, if you stick around, you’ll hear about in the pages of this blog!) So, I’ll bring this first post to a close, but hope to see you here again soon.
*Although, when someone (who doesn’t work in academia/education) told me a couple of weeks ago that she had 20+ days of holiday still to take this year, I said ‘how on earth will you manage that by the end of September?’ She had to gently explain to me that she meant the end of the calendar year.