In academics, we have an opportunity not available to people in most other professions. Each Fall, we start out fresh, with renewed spirit and energy. The academic cycle is annual, which has its benefits and drawbacks, but one of the main benefits is that each Fall we take in a cohort of new students at undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. levels. These cohorts arrive excited, nervous, and eager to get started. Their energy is contagious.
For those of us who are administrators, after exams end for the Spring semester, the halls turn much quieter as most students go off to engage in summer jobs, trips, and other non-university activities. For the first few weeks, I enjoy the relative peace and quiet. Summer is often a time when we attack projects that we did not have time for during the school year. However, after a few weeks, I start missing the buzz in the hallways and the activities of faculty members as they engage with their teaching. It gets too quiet. By the time new students arrive and current ones return, I welcome the change.
The Fall brings a period of renewal, a new beginning, a time when horizons for the coming school year look broad and filled with possibilities. Orientations for new students, the start of classes, initial meetings of dormant committees, and social events to greet new and returning students reinforce the feeling of new beginnings. I have experienced this phenomenon for well over three decades now, but I never cease to feel its powerful tug.