I’m in the middle of the 3rd week of my new job. So far it’s been a lot of things: exciting, overwhelming, stimulating, intimidating, freeing, and most of all, scariest of all, most exhilarating of all, NEW. Besides planning to teach courses, almost every other aspect of this new job is completely different from my old ones. Phew! At least I can never say my job is boring or routine or not challenging me – I don’t think I will ever will have a “typical day.” I like that a lot.
An incredibly wonderful upside of my job is the new things I’ve been learning. I’m now laser cutting, 3-dimensional printing, designing (in the engineering sense of the word), and accidentally attending lunches with safety goggles on her head. (I blame my husband for not noticing.) Soon I’ll be delving into the world of mills, lathes, welding, mold making, and more. I’ve been learning a lot about CAD software, machine shop equipment, and the engineering design process. These are all things that, 3 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have known much about at all.
The ending of two old jobs was hard. My heart still hurts a little when I visit my other university home or the old labs where I used to teach. I got teary when I cleared out my old desks and moved into my first ever office. I usually take things like this pretty hard: big changes, separations from an old way of life. So, I continually remind myself this is my chance to make a bigger difference, to grow, and to learn. Already in these first few fly-by weeks, all three of these things have been happening. Worth it? Yes!
My current big task is to design three project based courses, roughly described: 1. An introduction to the design process and basic building/prototyping skills, paired with visual and graphic design skills to attractively promote and communicate designs. 2. More advanced design. We will be designing and, ideally, implementing sustainable energy projects on campus. 3. Intro honors physics lab focusing on circuits and optics. I think we will build solar powered light fixtures. I am pumped, I am nervous, I am working long days. Loving it!