Friday, August 7, 2009


This is the last full weekend of summer for me. Next Sunday the freshman students move into the dorms, and then meetings and classes and appointments take over the schedule in earnest.

One of the great benefits of the academic calendar is that we get to start over again every fall. New students, a new chance to get it right. Naturally most of the time we make the same mistakes and fall into the same traps.

But I still love that moment on the cusp of a new year when everything is possible, when you could -- if you could figure out how -- go a different direction, experiment, get these brand new relationships off on the right foot.

There's a bit more of that for me this year than usual, thanks to the strategic planning we've been doing. I was helping to summarize the changes and provide a sense of timing for the actions the plan prescribes, and we've been pretty excited all summer about the change of direction. But as I worked on the timeline, I realized how slowly much of it will happen.

The illusion of overnight change gets fainter as the years go by, perhaps because of cynicism, perhaps because idealism can't be sustained, perhaps because the weight of the past overwhelms the possibilities of the future. But maybe it's possible to replace it with a belief in slightly more gradual change. I hope so, because change is coming whether we want it or not -- and I'd like to be out ahead of it, where at least some of that sense of eternally renewing possibilities can be preserved.

No comments: