I’ve always found “commencement” to be a fascinating word. On one hand, it signifies the end of something—the end of one’s education, the graduation from a program, etc. On the other hand, it signifies a beginning—the commencement of something new. In this way, a commencement seems to indicate the cyclical nature of life and the way that when one chapter ends, another inevitably begins.
So we come to the end of another year, and with it, the beginning of the next just on the horizon. This seems to be a time both of reflection and of looking ahead. Indeed, we have much to reflect upon from this past academic year: recognition of those achieving milestones and awards, remembering those in our community who have passed on, thinking about what we have accomplished this year. And at the same time, we look ahead: where do we go from here, what issues require our attention, what are our plans for the near future?
I’m sure I’m not alone as I wrap up this semester of classes thinking of what has gone well, what hasn’t, and all the ways I will be better next year. Next year, I will engage my students more. Next year, I will solve the cell phone problem (optimistic, if not very realistic!). Next year, we get to start again—although, luckily, not from scratch, but instead building on what has come before.
Such is the cyclical nature of life—and, in particular, of working at an educational institution, where one semester ends, another begins, and ends, and begins again… always building on what came before, and aspiring to be better.
It’s been a great experience putting together these issues of Chaparral for you this past year, and of course, as we wrap up the year and head into summer, I’ll be thinking of all the ways I can make this publication even better for you next year.
As always, thank you for reading.