From a recent article in the Keene State Today Magazine on Professor Adam's first year as faculty:
As a freshman, things just fell into place for me. I found a sweet spot in my courses, feeling both capable and challenged. I was empowered by the sense of freedom being on your own brings. However, I still drank milk with dinner (just like I did at home) until the middle of the spring semester. That first year was just what I needed. I dug into my dream major (athletic training). I made great friends and handled it all like a breeze.
As a new faculty member, the road was much bumpier. I came to teaching after working for 15 years as a college Certified Athletic Trainer and then going back to school to get my PhD. I felt more under water; I was constantly trying to get caught up. Objectives, expectations, even my course material seemed to be constantly changing. The first day of my Epidemiology class I realized I was using the wrong book – not just a different version, but a whole different textbook! I was overloaded with orientation information. Who does what, where, how, and what does it mean for my job? In many ways, I had freshman anxiety 23 years late. The struggle was new to me and surprising. I take a “can do” attitude to most everything.
It was interesting to compare my memories of college to what I saw going on around me. Today’s college experience is vastly different. Technology creates both benefits and deficiencies for learning and self-development. I had one option for learning: read the textbook and go to class! I remember my hand cramping from feverishly taking notes. Now, students have 24/7 access to online resources, including lecture notes. My freshman year, I called my parents once a week, usually on Sundays from the dorm payphone, providing them with the briefest of updates. I see students on their cells with parents daily, getting instructions for challenges they face. I sense my students are overwhelmed by the volume of information they are subjected to both in the classroom and from everyone around them. They struggle at first to meet new expectations and second-guess themselves as they navigate their undefined paths.
Wait, that sounds a lot like my most recent first year!