Campus is quiet, for the moment. No bikes or skateboards or scooters zooming down pathways. No laughter or chatter as students pass between classes. No rushing off to our next class, meeting, assembly, or practice. Faculty have plenty of grading to do as we wrap up Fall Term assessments, but we take a collective deep breath this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Students have departed campus for the week and we wade through the grading of final exams, writing of end of term comments, plowing of weekend snow, and tying up of loose ends before a few days truly "off", we pause to thank those that surround us. Working at Proctor is a choice. It requires each employee to put into perspective the greater goals of the work we do: empowering a generation of young people to make a difference in the world around us. It's hard, emotionally and physically exhausting work, but also incredibly rewarding to work with this group of students AND adults who have chosen Proctor.
It may have been the last jog through the woods before snow, a slow amble up from behind the tennis courts on Tuesday afternoon, the woods offering quiet solace in this transitional time between seasons. Up over wooden slab bridges, past the cut off for Wilson’s Wonder, up to Mud Pond and the Adirondack shelter. The dog rustled through the fire pit looking for bits of what? Marshmallow? Graham crackers? Scraps of discarded oatmeal from Wilderness Orientation? In the shelter, wood duck houses that students built were stacked, waiting to be set up later in winter.
Is November more beginning or more end? Is it the wind up as in the final stages when the last notes of a song are played or the last calculus problem set of the term is completed? Or the wind up like when a baseball pitcher shifts the seams, finds the curve grip, and collects for a single pitch that is simply one of many?
Over the past few days, we've highlighted different members of the community who make a quiet, but powerful impact on our day to day lives at Proctor. Today we express our gratitude for the type of parents Proctor attracts: innovative, trusting, adventuresome, outside the box thinkers who wholeheartedly empower their child to suck the marrow out of the Proctor experience.
Sometimes trying to wrap it into an essay is too limiting. Sometimes it is helpful to sit down, list, and skip the culling into paragraphs. Yes, it’s messier, the untended list. It’s a bramble and kudzu filled garden, more difficult to navigate, but this week, following Scott’s blogs posts on thankfulness, I look to moments that have triggered my gratitude over the last seven days. I often worry that in our rush to the next, the whatever next, the beautiful rustle of these moments pass unnoticed. A mistake. We should let these good moments touch us. We should slow down, look around, and actually build our gratitude lists. It takes practice, sometimes work, but it yields moments that nourish hope and optimism, moments that ground the spirit. My list from the last seven days:
Every community is full of unsung heroes whose work is often outside of the spotlight, but nonetheless essential to the overall operations of a complex organization like Proctor. The efforts of Proctor’s Technology team, Housekeeping Department, and Maintenance Department have been the focus of the last three days in our Week of Thankfulness. Today our attention shifts to those individuals who serve in administrative support roles around campus.