Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fully orientated

Oy. So many orientation activities! Such a long week!

But I shouldn't complain, because the long and the short of it is that I'm completely in love with my department. Let's start with the fact that there are five of us--yes, FIVE--who are new in a department of approximately 20 ladder faculty. I don't know yet whether any of my fellow newbies will develop into personal friends, but I can already tell that they'll be awesome work friends; any people I'm already comfortable giving a hard time to, bitching with, and cussing in front of are winners in my book.

And as for the rest of the department--need I say more than that there is exactly one person over the age of 50, and probably only three or four people over the age of 40? (And believe it or not, we're on track to hire more people next year.) Youth isn't inherently a good thing, of course, but at a regional school like mine it means that there aren't generational divisions when it comes to expectations for scholarship or teaching: we've all been trained in pretty much the same way, and we have the same kinds of ambitions and the same understanding of the profession. But it's more than that: I've been setting up my office all week, and people I'd barely met on my interview are stopping by and striking up 20-minute conversations. The next thing you know, I'm doing some schtick and she's doing some schtick, and we're talking about taking our comedy routine on the road.

And, okay: I know that this is the honeymoon period, and that I'll probably find that there are some folks I can't even stand the sight of. . . but for now, all I can say is that I feel more comfortable with these people--more like they're my people--than I ever have with any group of academics.

In other happy news: I have a SECOND DATE tonight with that girl I never really knew at INRU who's just starting a TT gig at the local R1. We had lunch last week and I liked her and I guess she liked me. . . so now we're doing a movie and drinks. It's odd to be courting a potential friend in this totally date-y way (before she and I met for lunch, I wailed to GWB, "But I'm so nervous--I want her to like me! What if she doesn't like me?"), but when you're new in town, I guess that's the way it works. Fingers crossed, anyway.


phd me said...

You are so right. If we can complain with our fellow newbies, they're good folk. A little jealous about your department, though. With my split appointment, the majority of the new and/or young people are in the department I'm not housed in. Still, everyone I've met across campus is nice and I don't feel too squirrely here. Yeah for us!

Have fun on your date. It's funny that you describe it that way but it's. just. so. true.

Cats & Dogma said...

Man, the friends-making thing has been the absolute hardest part of transitioning to the new job for me. By the way, I have a friend in the city that I think you're in now. Email me if you'd like to make the contact...

St. Eph said...

You continue to be a shining beacon of hope for my ABD self. Yes, jobs can be had. Yes, one can be happy at said jobs. All is not misery and woe in academe!

Good luck on your date!

Anonymous said...

Oh hurrah! I'm SO GLAD that you're liking your new department. Excellent news!

Have fun on your date. :-)

medieval woman said...

I'm so happy you like your department!

Wear something fetching, yet understated. It reminds me of that line by Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, "this is our first date, I just want to look pretty for her."

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Your department sounds great - I think the generational thing can be ever so sticky. Have a good friend-date!

Anonymous said...

Very happy for you! It sounds so exciting. Good talking to you last night. Next time I travel anywhere near the east coast, I'm dropping in for the weekend, I promise! Good talking to you last night.


Flavia said...

Dogma: Thanks for the offer! I probably *will* send you an email, after the dust of the first part of the semester has settled.

And bro: yes, do! Hope The Shore is treating you well.

kfluff said...

I'm with New Kid--hooray for dodging the generation-gap bullet--that's a good sign that your new institution is stable. Good on you for making friends straight out of the box!

Oso Raro said...

Darling Flavia,

Ah, orientation week! Having done my duty last year, this past week I could only sympathise with our new faculty, but it does get you in the saddle pretty quick. And that is so great you have a cohort of new folks, that really eases the transition. Your point regarding the friend date is so apropos (a la vie Oso Raro-ienne) that I can't believe it! And so true, after a certain point new friends are sort of like lovers, the seduction of our fabulous selves being the carrot, the reality of our neuroses the stick (LOL). Just earlier this week I was lamenting with Big Sis about my complete lack of friends in Cold City, and she urged me to go JOIN A CLUB! *sigh* I love her to death but she just doesn't get me sometimes.

Meanwhile, Prancilla is LOVING her new perch in Staid but Multi-Culti City (I think I need to come up with a snazzier moniker for that town), right down to joining a gay jogging group (which she calls the Gays; I prefer The Gaze). Hate her!

So, la lucha continua, but it sounds like you're off to a raring start, and yes, enjoy that honeymoon. It only comes once, after all (per marriage; your mileage may vary).

Thinking of you,
Oso R.