Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy first week of school! I need a nap.

"Hey, teacher: leave them kids alone!" Hurtful.

Happy first week of school to all and to all a good night!

The first week of school is always filled with fun, energy, excitement, exhilaration, surprises and goodwill by the bucketload.

It's also exhausting. For students and instructors alike, it's like discovering a gigantic boulder and realizing that you have until April to push it to the top of a mountain. You'd better keep pushing that sucker, or it'll roll over you and everyone else on its way back down.

This is the one week of the year that I have trouble sleeping and mostly get by on adrenaline, Tim Hortons coffee, and pluck. Like a kid who can't sleep the night before Christmas, I think about my classes, and invariably concentrate on the things that could - or did - go wrong. Not exactly "visions of sugar plums dancing," but what are ya gonna do?

If instructors have opening-week jitters, I'm sure it's nothing compare to what students must feel. For many it's not just the first week of college, it's the first week of a turning point in their lives. 

If that's not enough pressure: first week also means that there are long lineups at the bookstore and Student Services Centre - made worse this year by a recurring power outage - the long wait for that student loan to be deposited into the bank account, and the stress of finding your classrooms and meeting 100 new best friends.

To help ease our first-year students' transition into their new home away from home, today we brought in four former Creative Communications students from last year's graduating class (one per major: advertising, PR, journalism, and broadcast) for a "success seminar." It warmed my heart to see these freshly minted professionals speaking with confidence, style, grace, and class and dispensing advice like old pros.

I was also delighted to see our new first-year students asking thoughtful questions at the seminar and mingling with our distinguished speakers afterward; it was like having a class reunion on the third day of school.

I shouldn't be, but every year I'm surprised that I've lucked out again and got some great students: interesting, smart, outspoken, idealistic, and eccentric: the recipe for classroom success. Creation, cooperation, and collaboration: here we come.

But first: I need to lie down.

"I can tell that we are going to be friends." Better.


  1. It's a little late now to point this out but better late than never. A great way to overcome some of those opening week issues is to come in a week or so before classes start, buy your books, get set-up at student services, walk around with your schedule and get to know where the classrooms, bathrooms, etc... are. Doing this takes a lot of the edge of those first couple days. Plus being the one person who knows where to go for classes is a great way to make a good impression on your new classmates...

  2. Bringing the graduates back was indeed a fantastic idea!

    It was really nice to hear their perspectives in regard to the program, considering that their perspectives, and experiences are still "fresh". (Not to discredit any of the other folks that have spoken from their own experiences with the Cre Comm program; but hearing from people who had just finished the program, and were out in the work force was inspiring!!)

    Though I know it's going to be intense and "hard", I can't wait to see what lies ahead in the next two years.

    Thanks for bringing the grads in!

  3. I'm glad you found it useful.

    The program won't be that tough. It'll be summer vacation before you know it!

    OK, maybe a bit tougher than that...


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