Ooops, I’ve already dated myself! Like some other quaint reference points for the Class of 2011 (see the Beloit College “mindset list” — “What Berlin Wall?”, for example) I suspect the idea of the black marbled copybook lined in blue with a double-redlined margin might be an unusual concept for some students entering college this year.
But indulge me. The metaphor of that bright shining expanse of snowy paper, ready to capture the most important wisdom from the teacher, the most profound thoughts of the student — or the most creative doodles on the side — evokes the ever-hopeful spirit of the new school year. Like the elusive dreams of Cubs fans on opening day, the first clean white sheet offers the promise of winning, of success, of triumph as we anticipate filling each page with perfect prose or peerless proofs.
This week, hundreds of new students are joining the Trinity community in our three schools — more than 225 in the College of Arts and Sciences, nearly 100 each in the School of Education and School of Professional Studies. More than a thousand other students will return to enjoy the talents of our faculty, cracking open those brand new notebooks (or clicking on bright screens), beginning to trace upon those pages the timeless words and numbers and symbols of higher learning.
Our students come with large dreams for the ways in which their engagement with a Trinity education will transform their lives. They know that thousands of students before them have gone on to tremendous success in countless professions, careers and jobs. Those of us who are privileged to work with our students as teachers and administrators along the way know that one of the best things we can do for our students is to keep those dreams alive, to share with them the eagerness and joy we all feel at the start of the new school year, to regenerate that spirit in the long gray days of the late semesters when the once-new pages grow dog-eared, ink blots obscuring the once-sure wisdom of late summer hopes. We know that learning done well is a very hard task, but done right it’s a lifelong source of pleasure and fulfillment.
It’s Back to School time — the most glorious time of the year! Welcome to all!