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Brand new professor  August 27, 2016

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, teaching, Uncategorized.
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I finished my first week as a new professor. It was exhausting. I spent most of the week drinking from the firehose of information about my new institution. A colleague says every institution does the same thing to new faculty and he doesn’t understand why, but I think I do: it certainly creates empathy for the students. Going to college is at every bit as stressful as being a new faculty. 

The hardest part for me is just being around unfamiliar people all day. While my colleagues are almost entirely warm and welcoming, my introversion was severely stressed and I really needed down time in evening with no people. As much as I don’t like the commuting arrangement, I greatly appreciated the much-needed down time it afforded me.  I also was short on time for running (also good stress relief), so I tried to tell myself that the multiple flights of stairs I was taking daily to reach my office were an adequate substitute.

I finally met some students yesterday. Many of our students are athletes, and I saw an unexpected and very interesting side benefit to this: 2/3 of my advisees were minorities.  I am very excited by the possibility that there may be enough students that they won’t feel out of place. Unfortunately, there are no women, though I think we should start a SWE chapter anyway.

My final experience this week as a professor was with one of my advisees. We shook hands and, after he sat down, saw the hand sanitizer on my desk and asked to use some. I said feel free, but then became worried that I should be using some, too.

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1. Telliria - November 27, 2016

“The hardest part for me is just being around unfamiliar people all day. While my colleagues are almost entirely warm and welcoming, my introversion was severely stressed and I really needed down time in evening with no people.”

Reading these lines bring me great recognition and sympathy. I’m glad though that many find it easier to talk about their introversion openly, perhaps mainly through the issue being more well known and a common vocabulary better spread by Susan Caine’s book and others.

I wonder if you would like to share how you deal with interaction overload with your closest family? Personally, I find this to be my greatest problem as a father of a three year old. While he’s bright, kind and lovely, the intensity of children is mind-boggling to me. You mention the commute being a good down-time, so perhaps you face the same situation?

Best regards from Sweden!
Axel Tojo

ps. I found your blog through the Engineering Commons episode you participated in.

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