Thursday, July 14, 2011

A New Four Years

Tomorrow I meet with two groups of students new to St. Mike's to help them register for classes for the Fall semester. This is the first time I have had this experience at St. Mike's so I'm both looking forward to it as something new and different yet am a little apprehensive as to whether I will be able to answer all their questions and help them with the technology involved in registering on-line.

I think the key to a successful experience for both the students and me is to remember that new beginnings, no matter how carefully orchestrated, are going to be exciting, unfamiliar, and new all at the same time. They are going to be different things to different people and unique to each person in every aspect of the word. What is important to one will be insignificant to another; what is worrying for one will be a breeze to someone else, and what is exciting for yet another student will be ho-hum for someone else.

At times like this I always remember my first trip to the US in 1977. It was also my first airplane flight so there was much that was new and exciting. I can still remember my first thoughts. I can actually remember being concerned that passengers on the plane were not issued with parachutes; believe it or not!!!! I can also remember looking out of the airplane window as we came in to land at Chicago's O'Hare airport and wondering what all those little blue circles and rectangles were next to the houses. It actually took me several days to realize they were swimming pools. I was also amazed at how straight the roads were through the Illinois cornfields but was relieved that the language was the same; or so I thought at the time.

So I will try to be as prepared as I possibly can be tomorrow as I welcome my two groups of students to four years at St. Mike's. But above all I will remember that they are individuals who will each be experiencing something slightly different and unique. And if I get stumped by a question there are so many support people available that a good answer will not be far away.

That's me on the right of my brother Alastair in the picture on a recent trip to Scotland. I have yet to wear my kilt to class but I may well do this year.

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