Sunday, October 02, 2011

Personally: Losses, and Hopefully Gains

So I found out on Thursday of this past week that the college where I work will not be enrolling new students on our campus from here on.  I've purposely not mentioned the name of my institution on this blog, and right now I'm very thankful for that. This is one of those issues, that if I don't blog about it, my head might pop off.

Yes, so we won't be enrolling new students, which is just a nice, PC, businessy way of saying that our campus will work with existing students until eventually our campus will close. My job is secure going forward until--well, until I'm not needed anymore. I suspect I have a few months left on the books which is a blessing in itself. I have to make a living for G and myself somehow. I've already bookmarked about a gazillion jobs I need to apply for. But somehow I'm still in that in-between, denial phase of the steps of grief and loss. Blah blah blah.

I cannot imagine not going to work everyday in my office with my colleagues. I cannot imagine not meeting new students this coming term. I cannot imagine not doing what I do now. I can't imagine not being a mentor, a coach, a professor. I cannot imagine not doing all of those things where I am right now. While every job has its icky parts and every company has its flaws, I've really had an opportunity to "grow up" professionally where I work now. I speak differently than I did two and a half years ago. I interact with students and colleagues differently. I am a department chair, for heaven's sake, and when did I think I'd get into the administrative stuff? Never.

It fucking sucks. I cry when I stop to think about it too long. I'm angry that I can't just keep doing what I love where I am now with the people I've hired, the team of instructors I've helped build, and the colleagues around me that I enjoy so much.

Surprisingly enough, I'm not terribly worried about the financial side right now. Given that I am still employed for a bit, I have an opportunity to bulk up my savings. There will be severance or unemployment at the end of the road. Part of me immediately moves into get-another-job mode. But another part of me wants to stay until the wheels fall off. Be with my students until the last day. Until they lock the doors.

I got into education from the very beginning in an effort to help students. To affect them in ways I was affected by my own professors. I got into a career college--a technical school, if you will--purely by chance, and it has changed my life. I have students who might not have survived at another institution because of their lives outside of school or their inability to attend on a more "regular" basis. Some of them need help with childcare, others with transportation, some with motivation, and some with focus. They're like students in other places in a great many ways, but more remarkable and more challenged in some other ways. I admire them, I am frustrated by them, but I love them. More than they will probably ever know.

There is always an outside chance we might be acquired by another institution. I hope for that. I hope that glimmer comes true.  But in the meantime, I'm ducking my head and plowing through like I always have. Doing the same job for the same reasons but with a little crack in my heart. I'm daunted by what will rise up in front of me in the coming months, so please say a little prayer. It'll all work out, and I truly believe that. In the meantime, I just need to know I'm not the only one praying about it.

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