Sunday, October 02, 2011
Personally: Losses, and Hopefully Gains
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.