Sunday, August 21, 2005

'Moving in' - gifts of love from parents to children

Before I moved into Anderson Hall, I spent the time immediately before the semester mostly at home preparing classes and making last minute changes to syllabi. But now, ‘home,’ most of the time is on campus. So I am immersed in that beginning-of-academic year transition “moving in”.

In fact, I voluntarily immersed myself fully by this Saturday morning serving continental breakfast in my apartment and distributing fresh strawberries, orange juice, donuts, sodas, crunch bars, etc. to parents, children and staff in the South side quad, Anderson and Letts.

This was a perfect vantage point to observe hundreds of new students – mostly first year – and their parents. The patience and good humor of most parents, as they participated in this rite of passage was moving. They waited in line patiently, unloaded endless bags and boxes, loaded them on AU’s balky carts and carted them, in seemingly endless trips up the elevator to rooms.

Throughout this trial of hard physical labor, in strange surroundings, in hot weather, in stressful circumstances, after a long trip I rarely saw a parent lose his or her temper. For the most part, they seemed to be enjoying the process or at least taking part with good grace. They had survived the college tours and the admissions process. They had written large tuition checks, filled up the car or SUV. The rooms were set up – more or less – and they were now off to Target or Walmart for additional shopping – and spending before making the return trip home.

During this process, I saw parents bestowing gifts of love, in the hundreds upon their children It was moving and a bit daunting.

I say ‘daunting’ because as an AU faculty member and administrator, I am responsible – and accountable - for delivering on the gifts of love, hopes and expectations of parents and children.

Being a university faculty member, faculty administrator or staff member is much more than a ‘job;’ which makes it more fulfilling, rewarding, and demanding.

Working at a university is a calling.

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