Every time I leave campus it feels like nothing will be the same again.
– I don’t mean that for the people I know here personally: they know me and I know them, and it will always be the same in a good way. But we’ll always be in touch whether “here” exists or not –
But one does relate to an institution. One is a product of one’s school, whether for good or ill. And that means the current state of the school and its graduates is of primary concern.
I could rant about the administration here and how they don’t “get it.” About how the core curriculum, our way of reading and communicating, is more endangered than ever. About how the faculty is marginalized for absolutely no reason except a few pennies. About the future of all of these young people, who went and got an education and are risking a lot for doing so – if they went to DeVry, they’d be more competitive in this economy, we all know that.
But I think the most telling thing concerns me. I’ve seen this brand of education work. Those who know and relate to me are affected by it whether they know what I know or not. And surely they’re better for it.
When I’m home, weirdly enough, the real work begins again. Yes, the most crucial parts of the dissertation are getting done, and the plan is sound. Yes, a million other things got done here. The real work is preserving the spirit of the school, making sure it is alive and well no matter where I am.
Part of me thinks of being on campus, despite the fact I spent most of my time reading and writing, as a vacation. That might be the most telling sign this school is in trouble: any place that can’t make the most of my talents is a place more concerned about itself than the people within (Note: I’m not blaming anyone exclusively for this. It’s just that I’ve seen places where opportunities open up for many. Here, the word “few” would be generous, and again, I don’t think that’s anyone’s fault). That’s the surest sign of a decline, one which is beyond my power to reverse.
What I wish for as I leave: that I can keep in touch with my friends here, and give appropriate credit through my speech and deeds to my professors and teachers. – I can’t afford to think about this institution in the abstract. –