This has been a week of meetings, and in particular long meetings. I define a long meeting as anything over 1.5 hours, and by that definition, I had 3 long meetings this week so far. Now that classes are over, there is ample time for long meetings.
Today I had a 4-hour meeting. That was a long meeting, but in fact this meeting typically takes 6+ hours. For some reason, the committee was extraordinarily efficient and in agreement today. Perhaps it was a random event, or perhaps everyone just wanted to get things done and have the academic term finally finally finally end. Or maybe everyone is so fatigued that we all just agreed with each other.
I didn’t mind this particular long meeting because it involved a committee that has faculty members from many academic disciplines. The discussions are very interesting and I always learn a lot. Today I particularly enjoyed a conversation with history and English professors about the different ways that we approach our research. Despite huge differences in academic culture, there are important similarities. For example, we are all primarily driven by curiosity and deep interest in our field, and in our discussion today we all mentioned how thrilling it is to discover something – it doesn’t matter if it’s something in an old archive or something in a lab or even something that just occurs to you when you think deeply about a question or topic.
I liked being reminded about what is so amazing about universities. We are collections of people who are thinking intensely and passionately about the universe, life, art and everything. We are learning, teaching, and discovering, and we get to do this as a job. For me, being reminded of that is a good way to end the term.
7 months ago