It is the end of the semester, and the end of the university teaching year. This is the time of year that the stress levels seem to be the highest on campus as the students, staff, everyone is so busy. Coffee is being drunk by the liter, marks are released, exams are almost here, it is a period of big feelings. There are lots of professional development days to go to, special events that need to be attended, and external to the university we also see the community begin to buzz with activity in the lead up to Christmas/Summer holidays. A big hail storm hit us on campus last week, during a posh work event, and the parking here is not under shelter. Our little hatchback got slammed by the hail, which meant we got slammed by an $800 excess fee. But at least we are insured, I was never insured when I was a student. I have never been in a hail storm before, and as we were safe ourselves, I was able to just watch the way it impacted the whole area! It was really quite beautiful. The noise disrupted the whole event, the field started to turn white from all the hail covering the ground, and then after just a few minutes, the rain came and melted it all away.
I am now at the close of my first two semesters teaching at the university, and have now completed my first semester as a lecturer/content creator. As the formal student feedback begins to come in, and I make my way through the pile of marking, I am finding it is the quiet moments with students that are positively impacting me the most. University is not a private journey, but it is an unavoidably personal one. Having students share that I have been a positive part of the journey for them, is humbling. I sometimes experience feelings of anxiety over the awareness of the weight of my words here, I try and be mindful at all times when engaging with the students. Not just in the recorded lecture, or written feedback on assessments, but at the student-staff lunches, and in what often feels like ‘small-talk’ in the halls. So to hear that for some of the students, these interactions have made them feel ‘seen’, that they have felt that I believe in them, that they are more confident in their studies now than at the start of the year, it makes me so glad. It makes being this tired, feel worth it.
It all feels worth it.