I recently accepted a position as an adjunct social work professor at Hunter College in NY. It’s my first teaching gig and I am very excited about it. Ironically, I almost didn’t accept the job because I didn’t think I would have the physical strength to put in a full day at work, commute 2.5 hours to NY, teach a 3 hour class and then travel 2.5 hours back home. Despite my concerns, however, I decided to go for it and accept the position. It was one of the best split second decisions I ever made as both the school and the people who work there are great.
I quickly modified my schedule so I could complete the readings, get my PowerPoint slides together and make sure I was prepared to teach the class. Ever heard of muscle memory and how your body quickly bounces back once you begin to workout again? Well that is how I felt. All the professional social work terms and theories came right back to me and I was able to share them with my students. I am also fortunate in that have a wealth of PhD level social science materials and experiential knowledge to pull from.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I landed in the right spot. The other adjuncts and professors were happy to answer any and all of my questions, and the students seemed interested in both my professional and academic experiences. One thing, however, caught me totally off guard – I didn’t expect to get so caught up in the energy of New York. There are people moving about all over the place – people running to catch trains, dashing up the steps to get to a subway and just plain moving about with purpose. The city is electric and I get a boast just from walking the streets.
On the days I have class I load up my backpack with bottled water, granola bars and sandwiches. I also carry two cans of V-8 since that is the one drink, other than coffee, that gives me a quick boast when I am tired. Of course I also have pens, markers, books, and other materials for class because it’s not like I can turn around and run back home if I forget something.
Initially I was concerned that my dissertation writing would suffer – instead my productivity actually increased. I try to write 6 hours a day 2 days a week after work. Sometimes I can write more on weekends, but that depends on if I am in the mood and if I don’t have other obligations. I think I am writing more now because I only have a certain amount of time to sit in front of my computer. I can also see the academic finish line and there is a good chance I could finish my PhD by the end of the year or early 2019.
Back to Hunter, I am very proud to work there and I hope they ask me to come back. I like the students, I like the staff members and I like NY.