Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The end of the semester and looking forward to a new year.

The semester ended well and everyone headed home for the break before beginning a new year. I went up to Smuggs this afternoon to join old friend and former students Deanne and Jamie Taylor and their son CJ who has certainly grown a LOT since I last saw him. As you can see, the scenery at Smuggs was great and it was packed. Nice to walk into the lodge and see an SMC banner hanging over the balcony. It was great to see Deanne and Jamie again and we laughed a lot over lunch as they both tried to NOT have me share any of the stories of their time at SMC with their 15 year old son - he has certainly grown up well and he has a great personality - I, of course, encouraged him to look at SMC next year when he begins the hunt for a college - fortunately his folks have had a condo at Smuggs for a long time so he is familiar with the area and I think he even might be interested in going to the college his folks attended...
As the semester came to an end a couple of weeks ago, final exams and papers and final projects took up most everyone's time. I have been on campus a lot since the semester did end doing letters of recommendation for graduate school for a lot of my current and former students. I do enjoy writing the letters and even more, hearing when they get accepted - another step in the careers of so many students. I am looking forward to a new semester and have most of the work done on updating all of my syllabi so things will begin smoothly once students return on the 17th of January. Before that I head to San Antonio, Texas for the NCAA National Convention along with our AD Geri Knortz - this is always a good time to learn more, to see what others are doing and to share ideas with other Faculty Athletic Representatives from across the country. I will most likely update this blog from there as I will be in Texas from the 11th - 15th of January.

On a personal note - a week ago my "big" brother Jack passed away after a battle with lung cancer. He did battle for almost 9 months and it was a difficult time for all of us, and especially for him. I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues and especially my current and former students for their kind words of compassion and support. I appreciate it more than you know and once again was reminded of the very special nature of this amazing community we have established up here in the wonderful State of Vermont. Such good people - thank you all so much. I also posted a message to everyone that if you smoke - please STOP and if you never started - please DON'T..... He was a good man, gone too soon.

Take care, be well and, as always, please keep all of the members of our military and their families in your thoughts and prayers. I watched the documentary RESTREPO yesterday - based on the book WAR by Sebastian Junger; this is a powerful documentation of the daily life of a group of OUR young men fighting in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan - very powerful and I will be showing this to my Men & Masculinities class in a few weeks - we all need to better understand what the members of our military are actually experiencing and this documentary helps.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Getting ready for the end of the semester.

The snow is beginning to cover the ground outside of my office window here on second floor St. Ed's and that is fine with me. I pick up my skiis this afternoon after getting them tuned at my favorite local "outdoors" place, the Alpine Shop on Williston Road. While I won't have time to head to the slopes just yet, it is always nice to be prepared. I am not sure that any of us were "prepared" for the wicked wind a couple of days ago which ripped the copper covering off one section of Ross Sports Center and that still has some of my friends/colleagues without electricity - that wind was wicked..... Wicked is also one of the words that some of my students in Theories of Counseling class use about my exams. I just completed the creation of their final and posted a review sheet for them on eCollege. We will complete two more chapters in our textbook this week and then they take their final on the 16th. I expect that they will do well but they always complain (they ARE students after all...) that their hands hurt after writing so much on my exams - ah, music to my ears :)

As we do prepare for the end of another semester I have been reflecting on what a great semester it has been - Students are all registered for their second semester courses and seniors are completing their graduate school applications and so I have a LOT of recommendations to complete - while some find this a chore, I enjoy it. I enjoy being able to put into writing (or as is the case today, online) just how I have been able to watch my students grow and mature over their years here - I get to see progress in their maturity, their writing (most of the time) and their ability to think critically and analyze effectively. Putting all of that into a recommendation is something that I do enjoy and as many of them are getting accepted into graduate schools and they let me know that they have either received an acceptance OR they have been able to obtain employment after commencement the reality that they ARE leaving here hits home. I fully understand that this is the cycle we are all a part of but they sometimes don't understand that we will miss them. One student in particular, has been an effective leader on campus, has impacted all of us who have come to know him and who will be missed sorely by all of us is Dave Vorozilchak. Dave is from Pennsylvania and leaves here in two weeks to return home to a job and a "life after SMC" but he certainly has left his mark not only on our athletic program (he was captain of our men's hockey team last year - and a student member of the Athletic Advisory Council which I chair) but also on his professors in the math/science department as he is an Engineering major. I know that we will stay in touch but I wish him well as he leaves this place he has called home for 4.5 years.

Women's basketball plays at home this afternoon so I had better get back to work before heading over there - Caitlin Quinn is in my Sports Psychology class (she hit 5 - 3 pointers the other day) and Mandy Scott is in Practicum and they are both strong members of our women's basketball team which is headed by the "fabulous" Jen Niebling - Jen is such a positive role model for not only all of the women on her team, but for all of us - good luck ladies....

Once again, and especially as this holiday season comes upon us, I wish you well, please take good care and be good to each other AND please, as always, remember all of the members of our military and their families - those who are NOT home and who are serving all of us in Iraq or Afghanistan need our thoughts and prayers - be safe.....