The Storm before the Calm

The academic year moves in cycles that may seem as predictable as time itself. Move-In Day, welcoming new and returning students, and the start of fall semester in August. Final exams and the campus going quiet in the dead of winter in December. Spring Break and the first hints of spring in March. Followed by April, which at William Woods this year, bustles with more activity than any other season on our campus.

This month brings with it a juxtaposition of emotions as the academic year rushes to a close. It is packed with the joy of reconnecting with alumni from years past; pride in being able to recount the outstanding accomplishments on our campus from the past year to our Board of Trustees and other stakeholders; excitement in the ecstasy of graduates, parents and family members on graduation day; and perhaps a little bit of wistfulness for us as we watch another class of talented young people leave William Woods to head out into the world.

Such a range of feelings really makes our campus the embodiment of that old English country saying that goes “April weather, rain and sunshine go together.” In April at William Woods, we get it all, literally and figuratively.

With such significant events happening at The Woods during this busiest of months, from our Board of Trustees annual spring meeting, through Alumni Weekend and on to the culmination of the year on Commencement Saturday, there are many obligations and much to be completed – meetings to prepare for, reports to deliver, speeches to give, cherished alumni to welcome back, graduating students to embrace. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that represents this time of year, while forgetting to take a step back and appreciate the season and experience. But as the years that I have had the privilege of serving as president of William Woods have marched on, I have found myself more focused on doing just that.

So over the next two and a half weeks, I will be sure to take moments to reflect on these seminal moments on our campus. Because what is about to happen at William Woods in April of 2018 will never be repeated exactly the same way, ever again. Yes, we will always have board meetings, Alumni Weekend and graduations in the future, but they will include new students graduating, perhaps new board members, or different groups of alumni that make their way back “home” to The Woods. So that means each April is unique, and I enjoy experiencing and appreciating each one in its own distinct way.

Besides, after the rush of activity builds to a crescendo on Commencement Day, we quickly find ourselves with a serene, quiet campus in the warm spring and summer sun. A campus that welcomes a variety of visitors but one that mostly awaits the return of our students for the next fall semester. And so, the cycle will begin anew.

But for now, we will embrace April at William Woods, also known as the Storm before the Calm.

 

Dr. Jahnae Barnett