Thursday, January 6, 2011

The new year

“For us in academia, the slate-wiping New Year sits squarely in the middle of our calendar.”

Bluffton’s academic dean Sally Weaver Sommer shared this observation in a ‘welcome back’ note to faculty/staff.

January 1 seems like such a random day for the new year to begin. Why not a date in the spring when the grass is greening to represent newness, or in the autumn as the leaves are falling to represent the fading away of the old.

Being the curious type, I Googled to find out how January 1 was set as the first day of the new year. It turns out it was randomly set by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. (at least according to - be warned this site annoyingly plays “Auld Lang Syne” without a stop button.)

It’s interesting that a query on the university Facebook page about hopes and dreams for the new year resulted in few posts. Do we shy away from making New Year’s resolutions, or do we just resist sharing our resolutions with others?

Personally, while I have been known to set points of emphasis for the coming year, I resist calling them “resolutions.” Resolutions have a bad rap.

Whether you mark the new year in January or in August at the beginning of the academic year, the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a blank calendar is a blessing. It’s almost like getting new school supplies when we were kids, there’s so much potential represented by that pristine book.

Here’s hoping that your calendar – whether it’s brand new or dog-eared from the semester past – serves as a record of many successes and met challenges.

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