I adored my college years. So much to learn! So many people to meet! So many things to see! I studied physics and math and Japanese and religion and history and took creative writing and documentary filmmaking and thought thoughts I never would have thought I could think. And all the while I was striding around campus in my trench coat and Aussie hat, organizing late-night sing-alongs in abandoned staircases of the arts building, starting up my own science humor magazine, calling every last department at Los Alamos National Laboratory to see if they might like to hire me as a summer research assistant (got two offers, by the way), combing through the discontinued book sale at the campus library, watching foreign films at the campus international cinema, and enjoying every moment of freedom and independence.
So, naturally, I wanted to teach college myself someday. Why would I ever want to leave such a place?
Fifteen years and five childbirths later, I know there will be no going back. Delighted as I was to get a job teaching at my husband's new school, I knew I wouldn't get the same kick out of it that I got from being a student. Just like once you grow up you can never go back to that special Christmas morning when you're six years old.
But sitting this morning in faculty meetings, I realized something. I may not get to be a student again, but now I can see behind the scenes. I know better what goes into giving young people the college student experience. I had no idea how much my professors put into making my wonderful college years possible, how much my parents put into it, how much all the people who donated or contributed to my school in any way put into it.
And now, I get to be a part of creating that experience for a new generation of students. I get to be the one to put the presents under the tree.
Lesson plans, here I come!