One element of my job is to travel to conferences–conferences that I have a hand in organizing–that promote continued conversation about Church-related higher education. I am at one right now. Currently, there are sixteen new (ish) graduate students in the humanities discussing with a few established scholars the future of Christian Humanism. As the conference is for their benefit, I have excused myself to give them the space to talk and exchange ideas. This is one of those times when my every-day professional life falls squarely in the administrative category. It is an odd thing to go from being the conference attendee to the conference organizer.
I feel I must pause here to qualify how much organizing I actually do. I do some (I make a heck of colorful handout/guide) and thanks to my teaching experience I am capable of standing in front of a group of people and welcome them, provide some direction, and talk about the program at hand without turning scarlet. My voice doesn’t quake either. That being said, I am not the sole planner and organizer.
But, as I was saying, it is interesting to transition from the one sitting in the chairs to the one behind the scenes. It might be a similar transition from student to teacher. It is equally interesting to realize (and be happy about that realization) that I have moved on to a new and professional space from that of graduate student. We work and work and work, head down, moving forward, and we don’t see where we are or how far we have traveled. (By we, I mean I. How far I have traveled.) This is not to say that I am satisfied with where I am, but I am grateful that I am no longer where they (those grad students) are. I suppose I must now incorporate phrases like “when I was in graduate school…” and “back in my day…” into every day conversation. Gosh, that will be tedious.