back to school

I've read or heard so many people's reflections on going back to school sheep-like, I'm writing my own.

It's only been about six weeks that I've been out of class, and a significant portion of that time was spent doing groundwork for an independent study project. So it's far easier to see the descent of students as an intrusion than any sort of new beginning. Road construction in Columbia has made running errands an obstacle course. The roads weren't in bad shape to begin with, people in Maine would have been *thrilled* with them. But now I find myself dodging rippled pavement, heavy machinery and orange cones nearly every where I go. The textbook buying/bill paying/random office visiting routine is a little old after nearly six years of post-secondary education. Parking on campus is beyond abysmal and dictates my daily schedule. And either all the stress of the past eight months has taken up residence in my abdomen or I've picked up a rather pesky stomach bug somewhere. There's upsides....all that road construction means jobs for someone, several of these books will be great references, and pepto-bismol capsules are lifesavers.

I'm a fan of most of the faculty and staff in the School of Public Health. However, it's a behemoth of an institution, and trying to maneuver through it is like swimming upstream through mud. I unreservedly love the students in my department though. And it's been good to come back and reconnect- to gush about travels, independent studies, research projects. There's nothing like talking health ed, nutrition, HIV rates, health disparities with people who care as much, if not more than I do. It's amazing how much more room to breathe I have here than at a certain small liberal arts Evangelical college.

Ink pens and packs of writing paper don't excite me nearly as much as they used to. There's so much more promise in that hint of coolness first thing in the morning . . .It seems life has adjusted to where my year begins in Advent, not August now. Ultimately, I think this will be a better rhythm, but it feels strange at the moment.


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