A Note from the Cloakroom: The Straits of Fall

BY RICHARD BAXTER
Director, Campus and Community Events 

A NOTE FROM THE CLOAKROOMAs I was entering the second grade, my mom gave me a sweater she had knitted for the first day of school. I was also lucky enough to have pencils, a Red Chief notebook, an eraser, and a few blank sheets of college ruled paper. Elementary school was simpler, especially long ago, but the anticipation of academic transitions has been a constant for me. I am blessed to have a curious nature, and Mom was a first grade teacher, so she nurtured this curiosity. She understood the importance of those first few steps; she created a daily learning environment and wanted her boys to stay warm as the summer months faded.

I’ve always been excited at the beginning of every school year. Books, supplies, warmer clothing and new beginnings, similar to elementary school, are all part of every fall College experience. Students will transition from their family at home to a new collection of friends. This usually begins with Orientation festivities. Campus and Community Events and many other departments of the College lend a helping hand to make this transition as smooth as possible. We create and distribute all the service requests for each event and we review activity schedules. We provide staffing to secure support behind the scenes. As the transition unfolds, we stand alert, in the background, ready to rush in to remedy trouble. This will be our initial step in service for the new class of first year students and this will continue throughout the years, eventually culminating in their Commencement. But it begins with the image of each single student walking toward their new studies, away from the familiar and into a fresh, uncertain environment.

It is natural to resist change, especially if it challenges comfortable habits. This can be especially tough with the acceleration of activities that funnel you through the narrow passage of the fall months. I’ve only been successful in embracing significant change, such as a new school year, by metaphorically zipping up my new sweater and taking those first few steps on the sidewalk toward school. It’s an exciting time of year, I'm eager to learn and I’m wearing the loving handiwork of a first grade teacher.

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