One year ago this week I’d completed my first inventory of the collection and attended two days of New Faculty Orientation. Next stop, Opening Faculty Meetings. I remember staring around, looking at my new colleagues and wondering who was who and how I’d fit in. My boss introduced me, mentioning my 140-mile round-trip commute and a gasp went up from the others. I’ve never been gasped at before. It’s a little unsettling.
This year I (well, the library) hosted the New Faculty Orientation, and I did a little presentation on our Resource Guides. Almost all the summer books have been processed, the magazines are all checked in, the new furniture is on its way… Monday my partner in crime and I will drive 43 boxes of books to ThriftBooks and run some other errands while planning our upcoming year. And Tuesday all those new faculty will be introduced to the rest of us – my guess is that there will be no gasps involved!
During the NFO I had the opportunity to say hello to several colleagues and catch up a little. Two of them said the same thing, that it felt (to them) as though I’d been at Porter’s far longer, that this couldn’t be only my second year. It reminded me of my start at Hackley nine years ago, and how similar things were said about me there. One colleague told me that there were some faculty who wouldn’t be too friendly, on the theory that it was a waste of time to get to know the newbies before their third year (at least) because of turnover. Those unfriendly faculty? Some of my closest friends by the end of my first year.
Don’t ask me what I did, or didn’t do, to fit in. There are checklists and suggestions all over the web about what to do your first week/month/year at a new job (go search ‘em out yourself) but there’s nothing out there on how to fit in, how to make your new coworkers feel comfortable enough to call you colleague, or friend. At this time of year I wonder about the incoming “class” and hope their integration into the school makes them, and others, feel like they’ve been a part of the community for far longer.
Here’s to Academic 2015!