I’m still very much “the new guy” on campus, but I am starting to find “my tribe.” This morning, for example, I spent an hour over coffee talking with two other faculty members from another department about overlapping research interests and opportunities for collaboration. I have two similar meetings scheduled for later in the week as well. Sure, the academic work we are discussing is interesting, but what was really exciting about today’s conversation, and the promise of Friday’s as well, is realizing that I am starting to make connections. And as I build these professional relationships, I am starting to see how I fit in with my colleagues–what new perspectives I bring, and what new perspectives I can gain.
I’m also starting to learn about little locations around campus where I “fit in”–spaces and places that I can “relate to,” to use that old hippie term, where I think I will enjoy working and hanging out. You see, my building sits on top of a hill, making it the highest academic building on campus. I love the location–there is a nature trail behind the building, and the stairs up to the courtyard are lined with flower and vegetable gardens. But given how far away we sit from other academic buildings, if I have more than one meeting in the main campus area, it makes it impractical to to go back and forth to my office. Which means on days like today, I end up spending plenty of time working in random locations around campus between meetings, rather than hiking back up the hill. And I have certainly found some pleasant places to work–as well as places simply to sit and observe.
Yes, I’m still exploring, still discovering, and still finding my place.
And so far, I’m enjoying it.