Thursday, February 2, 2012


Do you remember when you growing up, and you thought a particular class or grade was hard?  For example, algebra was the hardest thing EVER and when you were in the middle of it, you thought nothing could be harder than dealing with (i) - that imaginary number or freaked out when your answer suggested a negative square root (I did).  And then you finished that year, with only some battle scars, onto the next challenge.  There are a number of classes throughout my years in school: math, science, Latin, that just seemed like the hardest thing ever.  And while many of those classes still have horrific memories attached to them, they are also in the past and I am on to bigger, better things.

It's not just hard classes that stick in my mind like that.  I remember starting new jobs and the first weeks  of a new job: learning the new system, meeting all of the new people, and wondering if it was all ever going to click/feeling completely overwhelmed.  I remember that especially when I started as academic dean of my summer academic camp.  It all felt so whirlwind, and then eventually, things clicked and it worked.  The bar constantly keeps getting raised, and it seems like a new challenge is always waiting in the wings.  And that is a good thing - I like challenges, and while it seems tough in the beginning, knowing that I've gotten through previous challenges successfully gives me the optimism that I need to work my way through the next one.

I am in the middle of trying to clear the bar again.  I am in my third week of teaching a history class (my first class of my own) at Mount Saint Mary's University - a dream come true.  I've been wanting to teach for so long, and now I am!  It is really exciting and I am loving it so far.  It takes a lot of time to prepare my lectures and get everything ready for class, but it is great.  One of my favorite things about teaching European history (specially medieval or early modern (1400-1850) is that since it is typically less studied here in America, students don't know a ton about it beforehand. So, part of what I get to do is surprise them with all of these interesting things.  It's a ton of work, but I love it - which is good, since this what I want to do as a career!

The thing that I was most nervous about with the new job was not the job itself, but actually the commute.  I live in DC, and the university is 70 miles away.  This is the first time I've had a car in DC, and the first couple of times back and forth was absolutely terrifying.  I don't have a ton of driving experience (I've never needed a car), and so to go from driving my parents' car to the mall at home to almost 300 miles a week (I teach there twice a week) was a big leap.  White knuckles and sweaty palms for sure.  When I first started, the semester seemed so long and looming - I couldn't believe how much driving I was going to do.  But now, a few weeks in, I am settling into the routine and starting to think "Oh, it's not so bad."

It is funny how our perception on the difficulty things can change as we age.  And even when the challenges seem hard now, I am sure in a few years we'll all be thinking "That wasn't so hard."

1 comment:

  1. If the commute is the most nerve wracking part of the new job it sounds like you're in good shape. I'm sure your passion for history will rub off on your students!