One for the New Folks

It’s been really great to meet a gaggle of new colleagues (also missing last year) and see familiar and respected colleagues meeting our department’s great new hires and seeing all the enthusiasm and excitement of a new year.

It’s fun to see people who are as excited about getting a chance to do the job as I was (and am). It’s downright inspiring.

Back in June, when we were interviewing, I read this piece, and I really liked it. I think it describes, in part, what I have enjoyed so much about our HWFDW this year–multiple serendipitous moments that can only happen with the combination of presence and time, which are so hard to come by during the semesters.

In any case, I think THIS ARTICLE is one for the bulletin board…

I think that people at all stages of an academic career can set themselves up for good things. Unlike some of the things we do, though, like publishing articles, some of the best things in and for an academic career come from unexpected places, and I am concerned here with how we can invite such unanticipated good fortune into our lives. You can, I think, manufacture good luck. I’m talking about actual, tangible, concrete actions that aspiring and rising academics can undertake in order to cultivate good luck, to cultivate serendipity, that wonderful feeling that zings up your elbow when, in a sequence of events too perfect to script, the strange, frayed threads of one’s life weave together in a happy way.

I’ve begun to think of serendipity as a houseplant, one of those really tough houseplants that you can forget about for a while without it dying, not some orchid with a complicated schedule for misting and fertilizing. You probably know a professor with the type of plant I’m thinking about in his or her office. It sits in a window, largely ignored and neglected, but always there, always alive. Every now and then, after some attention, the plant flourishes. I think that the best way I’ve been able to cultivate serendipity, to make my luck flourish, has been to put my ideas into the public world.

I, for one, completely agree…

2 thoughts on “One for the New Folks

  1. Thanks for this. As one of the new guys, I am stoked about the beginning of the semester, and I enjoyed the faculty development week activities if for no other reason than the cross-pollination opportunities they provided. It is great to have already had some opportunities to get to know the community of educators I’m sharing a garden plot with. I happen to be a believer in serendipities and silver linings that promote growth…as long as you’re doing the work, not just sitting back waiting for the skies to open up and for a benevolent hand to reach down and pat you on the back. So far, it seems like any good vibes I’m putting out here at HWC, I’m getting back tenfold. That’s pretty phenomenal. So thanks to all the members of the community here for creating an environment that fosters this felicitous kind of interaction. I’m thrilled to join you.

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