Spring has always been my favorite time of year. There has always been something about shifting out of winter and seeing the hope and promise of new opportunities. The new green grass, the buds on the trees, and the extended hours of daylight all seem to recharge me. Historically I've been less bullish on Fall. I always seem to dread the move from Summer into Winter, often ignoring the fact that Fall in PA is a wonderful time of year. But for the second year in a row I find myself really excited about the change of season ... it never used to mean much to me, but I am strangely eager to see the leaves change. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention.
Yesterday I went to the opening PSU game and took my daughter along. We had great seats and unlike the game we attended last year, she made it well past the first three minutes. She seemed to look at it all with very different eyes this year. I think she is seeing the spectacle of it through new lenses ... the energy of the crowd and the power of the student section in particular really seemed to perk her interest. At times I caught her paying quite a bit more attention to the fans and the surroundings than the game itself. But, since at one point she said, "Daddy, I only cheer when all the people in blue do" I figured the game of football hasn't quite made it into her conceptual framework. No problem ... Beaver Stadium is quite the place to take in the sights and sounds of the experience.
It dawned on me as I prepare to see her off to first grade this year that answering the bell in the Fall is one of the things I've started to look forward to. I tend to measure my life in semesters for the most part -- spending two decades in school and now a third as a member of the higher education community, my view of time is influenced heavily by the academic calendar. Maybe that is why my interest in Fall has started to take over -- I see huge promise in the start of a new year. Not sure, but I like it.
It also makes me realize that I am feeling a real sense of belonging ... I am now more than ever convinced that my choice to be in higher education is the right one. If I am eager to hear the school bell ring at the start of a new year, I must be in the right place. I've struggled with this choice for quite some time, but feel proud of the fact I spend my time here. I am watching with great anticipation as my daughter heads off to public school to see how long her enthusiasm for school lasts. I hope it is a lifetime.