The Night Before the 1st Day of School

The anticipation, the stress, the nerves, the excitement, the chaos, the tears?, the fear….it’s a night that comes around a few times a year, for parents, students, grandparents, college students, and….professors?  What should I wear?  Will the students make fun of me?  Will I say something stupid? What if I trip in front of class?  What if I spill my coffee in my lap on the drive to class?  What if I oversleep?  What if I can’t sleep at all?

As a parent I’m sure some of you are all too familiar with these fears.  I wonder if my students get nervous though?  Are they rolling their eyes at the syllabi I already emailed them? Do they have a countdown of days until Spring Break?  Maybe they’re just as excited and nervous as I am?  These are all emotions I feel. But why?

Does that feeling to be “liked” ever go away? Does that desire to fit in still really affect 30-year-olds.  I could say I didn’t care but that would be a lie. I’ve read all the textbooks, I have a lesson plan ready to go for the week, heck, I even know the name of every student in my classroom already!  What’s there to be nervous about?  I truly think it’s the anticipation, and hear my heart on this.  I have been given the privilege and honor to mentor young students, impressionable, fragile young adults.  I’m entrusted with teaching them skills in the next 16 weeks to last a lifetime.  And I take that job seriously.  I’m excited with anticipation to see the growth in these students over the next 16 weeks, the learning, the conversations, the character-building.  I’m anxious to grow myself intellectually, as a speaker, as an instructor, as a mentor.  I know I’ll be faced with challenges, as will the students.

I pause today to reflect on this opportunity that we have as instructors, to significantly impact, positively empower these students.  And with that, I will do my best.

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