The fall semester started at my community college August 21st and so far it’s been a solid three weeks. A fellow colleague mentioned that there “seemed to be something different in the air this semester” and it got me thinking about some of the things I’ve observed over the past few weeks.
1. The enthusiasm for extracurricular activities on campus is increasing. This may seem like an odd observation given that I work at a college, but our students are all commuters, so sometimes drawing them towards student organizations and community service events can be tricky. They are pulled between work, family and classes, so when we had our annual activities fair the second week of school it was a pleasant surprise to see lots of new and returning students signing up for email lists and asking questions about how to get involved.
2. Our campus feels more like a campus. When I began teaching at my community college, the campus consisted of two buildings at our downtown location. This past spring we moved into a brand new academic building that houses offices, student lounges, classrooms, a food court and a coffee bar. We recently finished construction on our new culinary building and we now have a skywalk that joins two of the busiest buildings on campus. I love walking into my building in the morning and seeing students line up to buy coffee.
3. Students seem more organized and better prepared for classes. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but I think our increased attention to new student orientation has helped in terms of teaching students how to be students. A lot of our students are non-traditional, so assimilating back into a college environment presents a whole other set of challenges.
I’m embarking on some new projects this semester as well and I’m reminded of how much I like the energy and excitement that comes with a new semester. Here’s hoping that energy continues.