Like many academics, I consider the start of the school year to be the start of the year, period, and even during the time that I spent working at an office job I still had a hard time not thinking of "a year" as something that began in August or September. (I distinctly recall talking to a coworker one fall and referring to something that had happened "last year," when the event in question had actually occurred in February or March.)
For me, the new year begins tomorrow (since I continue to have that sweet, sweet Tuesday/Thursday schedule, whose long weekends and limited number of required days on campus more than make up for the fact that I teach three 90-minute classes, two of them back-to-back, on each of those days).
What have I done to prepare? Well, apart from putting together my syllabi and lesson plans and handouts, I've been doing a lot of things to put me in the appropriate psychological state for a fresh start--some of them practical, and some of them a little silly. I've cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. I've caught up (temporarily) on my email correspondence. I've taken a nice long bath, soaking and scrubbing and exfoliating, followed by giving myself a fresh pedicure. I went out and bought myself a new perfume--I'd been wearing the same two perfumes for something like 5 and 9 years each, and it was time for something new; I'm amazed, frankly, by how NEW this new scent really does make me feel. If I have time before I go to bed, I intend to fix myself a celebratory Negroni.
So I think I'm ready. The committee meetings and dinner parties that I've had with colleagues in the past two weeks have reminded me all over again of how much I like these people. And although I have several serious projects (an article revision and my reappointment package, to name two) due in the next five weeks, in addition to all the papers that will start flooding in about then. . . that's what I wanted, right? More structure? Lots of stuff to keep me busy? Well. Looks like I've got it!