Last week was a blur of meetings, new faces, new rules, new places. There were faculty orientations, receptions, convocations, and retreats. There were boxes to unpack, printers to be installed, and email to configure. There were parking permits to be purchased and parking ramps to be navigated. It was all rather exhilarating and quite exhausting.
Next week is the start of class. My syllabus is at the printers (I've only caught one error so far); my first lecture is mostly written; the blackboard site for the class has some rudimentary information. I'm feeling pretty good about the class actually, though I still don't have a copy of the same textbook edition that my students will be using. I'm sure that a few weeks from now, about the time their first papers come streaming in, I'll be delirious with class-preparation sleep-deprivation, but for now I'm cool.
I've got a couple of grant deadlines in the next month or so, and I'm looking forward to spending a few hours next week to actually thinking about potential topics, doing some reading, and eventually scoping out some field sites. A colleague at Mystery U (MU) reminded me of a potential field site near Mystery City, and suggested that it would be a great place to take a family hike. The thought of sneaking out for a half day with Minnow and walking through forests and fields is incredibly appealing right now ('til I remember the temperature outside). A colleague at Same State University (SSU) and I are trying to arrange for a field excursion to a site where we are both interested in working. And my -ology of Mystery State book suggested some potential field sites for another project I am thinking about proposing. If all three of those sites/projects go ahead in the next year or two, I'll really get to know the -ology of the state in a hurry.
I really like my colleagues - part of the reason that I was excited about MU in the first place. Everyone is just so dang nice. Even at our retreat, where a lot of festering problems were aired, everyone was polite and a good listener.