One of the things I have noticed in two years working in Higher Education is the definite rhythm of the year. We’ve just started a new one, just met new students and lecturers depending on what side of the learning you are on (and that is often not straightforward…). Everyone is full of enthusiasm, it’s the best time of the year. Increasingly I think the trick to making a good year a great one is maintaining that.
Both years I’ve been at Plymouth the Autumn term is always really exciting. Everyone arrives for the first time, or after a long time away full of excitement and ideas. New projects start, new collaborations come together. However, it is a busy and hard term, and by Christmas after a round of assignments and a round of marking for the staff everyone is ready for a break. After Christmas people drift back more slowly, classes are usually more spaced out, the days are cold and wet, and things can move more slowly. They usually pick up again in February with the enthusiasm of new modules and new learning, only to wane again as the workload hits both students and staff later in the year.
I’m struggling with whether that is just the way of things in such institutions, or whether some work on capitalising on those energetic periods could create a tipping point resulting in even more great things happening. I know there is an abundance of ideas here, from both students and staff, and looking at the year there is a fair amount of time, the problem is keeping the energy flowing and realising all the ideas and the promise; maintaining the momentum.
I don’t meant to say there is a lack of people achieving great things, there certainly isn’t. However, I can’t help feeling there is even more to be realised if we can recognise how the ebb and flow of the year affects us and push at just the right time to keep things tipping over. This year I’m looking out for those times.
Photo: CC BY NC SA insunlight