The fall quarter starts tomorrow, and typically this time of year has me excited for the fresh start. Stepping back on campus after 2-3 months away and seeing a new batch of students usually makes me giddy and nervous all at the same time. Unfortunately this year I’m feeling less than energized about the new quarter. Part of it is no doubt due to a too busy summer in which I wrote five papers, took three work-related trips (plus two trips for fun), and helped put together the program for an international conference (ok, two, but they’re happening at the same time). Summer wasn’t restful, so new starts don’t seem as appealing as usual.
But I don’t think that explains it all. In fact, I suspect that I’m suffering from change overload. I’ve written before that change is one of the things I like about being in computer science education, and I stand by that. I think I would be bored if things stayed the same all the time. It’s just that recently I’ve experienced a lot of changes, both in my personal and professional life, and it’s tiring me. Most of the personal changes (a cat dying, another cat in the hospital, favorite restaurants and the spa I’ve gone to for ten years closing) and professional changes (starting four new research projects, finally having to switch web editors, moving to a new system for one of my classes) are small. But the accumulation of a bunch of small changes has me feeling stubborn and resistant. I feel like yelling: “Stop with the changes already!”
Part of me wonders if it’s a side effect of aging, since older people tend to be less willing to change. But then I remember that my students are resistant to change too, with the funniest (and most common) example being the student who suddenly switches seats during the fifth week of the quarter and then endures the nasty stares from his/her classmates. Typically once I get over being resistant, I usually find that the change isn’t so bad. The new web editor has much nicer features than the old one, the interface on the new system is better than the old, and the new research projects are incredibly fun. I’ll try to remember that when the next change comes along, although I make no promises in my current state.