August 31, 2015 • Curriculum
On my way to campus for the first day of the fall semester, Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” came on the radio. Belting out an abuse ballad en route to teach a class about financial empowerment is strangely empowering.
Nevertheless, I found myself stuck on the line, “Is it fast enough that we can fly away?” Every ounce of my body wanted to keep on driving, skipping the exit to campus, avoiding the staffing snafus that were sure to unfold the first week, eluding the anxiety of beginning anew.
I don’t like transitions. I’d much rather operate in a steady state of existence in which classes occur year round, child care is predictable, and decisions are made for the long-term.
But I didn’t keep driving. Nor did I fly away. I shuffled some personnel to solve a staffing snafu, I waited patiently for lost students to be found. I started learning names and stories. I watched for signs of growing financial empowerment.
It dawned on me that “to skip” can have a negative or a positive connotation. Sure, I could have skipped my exit or skipped town. Or I could have skipped joyfully from my car to my classroom. And “starting anew” may give rise to feelings of trepidation, but it is usually used in with a more positive connotation. “Spring blossoms anew” or “She restarts her life anew.”
So we’ll start this second week anew, using our fast cars to drive to exactly where we want to be.
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