At the end of May, I was honored by the English/Philosophy Department at Monroe Community College when I was awarded Adjunct of the Year.
I didn’t expect the award to be a big deal — more symbolic than anything — so when I sauntered into the English Department on the designated day and the predetermined time, I was sort of surprised to be greeted by two Adjunct Coordinators and my Department Chair. They had plans.
First, one of the Adjunct Coordinators, Keith Jay, made a little speech about my service to the College.
Honestly, it was like my wedding.
I barely heard him. I saw his mouth moving, but my brain was all: Whaaaat?
Keith handed me a certificate.
Honestly, the certificate would have been enough!
But then they gave me flowers.
And then my Department Chair handed me an envelope with ninety-six bazillion dollars.
Keith asked me to follow him into the hall.
(At that point, I would have followed him anywhere.)
“Your nameplate will eventually be there.” Keith pointed to a hook on an otherwise empty wall. “The plaque is at the engraver’s now.”
I followed Keith back into the English office where he picked up a white glove.
Because I am a dork, I thought: Oh, this is it. This is the part where I get hazed.
I’m not kidding.
I thought I was going to have to clean out the English office, or perhaps the supply closet where everyone goes to get pens and pads of paper and markers and chalk. It can get pretty messy in there, especially around the end of the semester. I seriously thought someone was going to make me pass a “white glove” test.
(What’s wrong with me?)
The other adjunct coordinator, Professor Yulanda McKinney, pushed a black box into my hands.
Nestled inside layers of white silk was a crystal prism.
“Put this on before you pick it up.” Keith said, handing me the glove. “You don’t want to get fingerprints all over it.”
As I lifted the prism out of the box with my gloved hand, I saw it had been engraved with my name on it.
And I was overwhelmed.
Because I realized
no one was going to haze me Yulanda and Keith and Cathy and all the people in my department view me as a colleague.
I may not have my own office or full-time hours, but the people with whom I work respect what I do.
Which is an awesome feeling.
So I was filled with gratitude.
Not long after I received this award, I had a dream. I was on a ship with a bunch of my students. I turned around to call to them, but no words came out of my mouth. A voice told me to leave them behind, that they would be okay.
I’ve been struggling with my vocal cords lately.
Obviously, the damage is worse.
I keep thinking about that dream.
I don’t know how many semesters I have left in the classroom because some days I just squeak.
It goes without saying that I will, of course, give 100%, but if this September is to be my swan song, 20 & 1/2 years in the classroom will have been a lovely run.
I don’t know what I will do next.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything else.
Especially anything that has required me to be quiet.
Have you ever had to stop doing something that you really love? What made you stop? Were you able to replace that thing with something else? Or do you still miss the activity that you had to drop?
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