It’s the beginning of a new semester—one of my most favorite times of the year. A time in which many folks working in education are rolling up their sleeves to get their classrooms ready, stocking their shelves with school supplies, and adjusting to their early morning alarm clocks. Parents are back-to-school shopping for clothes for their kiddos who have mysteriously grown a foot over the summer, re-stocking backpacks, going to open-houses, meeting new teachers, calming nerves and adjusting to the early bedtimes and early wake-up calls.
In my world, the beginning of my year in education is similar, but also very dissimilar to my fellow K-12 educators and mom’s and dad’s out there. My year starts a little later, but much preparation is also needed. There is no adjusting to early bedtimes or alarms, as my 12 month contract has me waking at the same time no matter if its fall, winter, spring or summer. And my students need not learn from my classroom about grammar, politics, or history, but about email etiquette to a professor, time management, decision making and homesickness.
Needless to say, this is what has been going on in our lives as of late. I’ve been working early and late preparing for students arrival—those taking freshman seminar and those for whom I’ll be an Academic Advisor; those who will need a tutor and those assisting in my office and with these programs this year. There have been late nights, retreats, overnights, early mornings, skipped lunches and dinners eaten at 9pm (a far cry from the 6:30pm dinners typically eaten around our house AND the 9:30 bedtime). The beau has been his patient self as always, listening, fixing dinners, keeping dishes washed and the lawn mowed and wiping away tears when needed. This seems to have been the year for a million changes and hiccups at the last minute at work and as much as I hate to admit it, I do not deal with change well and when I have my expectations set on how something is to go—this red-head isn’t always nice when that doesn’t play out.
With the beginning of the new semester out rolls the “clean slate” approach. The beau and I will banter back and forth in our emails using the hashtag approach #cleanslate whenever we feel the need to remind ourselves of the commitments we’ve made, things in our past we’d rather not re-visit, or time when all that can be said is—let’s just move on (insert red-head episodes).
One of the things I love about education is the ability to have many #cleanslate approaches each year. Each semester, I always tend to write out New Year’s Goals for myself, but inevitably, I find myself with journal, pen and coffee mug in hand every year around this time making a new “be better” list. There’s something innate in me that feels those cooler temperatures in the morning, sense the bouquets of pencils (can anyone tell I watched “You’ve Got Mail” this weekend?) and know that it’s time for a #cleanslate.
August has really been the start of this renewal for the beau and me. After coming back from a fantastic and much needed vacation in late July, we really started looking at the types of individuals we wanted to be—who we wanted to be remembered as, what types of friends and (one-day) parents, and spouses and employees we wanted to be. That has caused quite a revolution of sorts in the Cracraft home—one I am so thankful for. Although the past few weeks haven’t been as disciplined as I’d hope they would have been, we are on our way. We stated that 2011 was the year we were to “be better” and unfortunately, we haven’t seen too much of that come to fruition. This is where that changes.
I know it may have been said before and I hope that this won’t turn those of you off who HAVE heard it before. We need you to help us be accountable, to know the areas in which we are striving to be better. Stick around for updates on our #cleanslate and join us yourself for updates on your own progress for your personal path of discipline into being better. Each day is a new day, a new beginning and definitely not too late for change. Now let’s all get those freshly sharpened pencils out, write down the lists of those areas in which we’d like to “be better” and make it happen. It won’t be long before those hooded sweatshirts at football games will be making their appearance! What do YOU want to change in your life before that first home football game?