After 11 years of college (shut up--I know that's way too many. I don't need to be reminded), you'd think it would be difficult to overload my brain. I'm used to taking in all kinds of information in a hurry.
But today at faculty orientation, I learned about all my work-related benefits, all the things I gotta do to get tenure, and who does what for whom at the university. And my brain wants to explode. POP!!!!
Then there was a reception afterward, which was very nice, lots of nice people and good food. And every person I met was just a classic academic type. Nice, friendly, accessible, but with just that certain nerdy something about them. I love that quality--I HAVE that quality.
It got me thinking, though, about how I see myself and who I am. It occurred to me that this was a place where I could talk about being a professor without feeling weird about it. Most of the time when people ask me what I do, I say "I'm a student" or now "I'm a teacher." I never ever say, "I am a graduate student" or "I'm a professor." You know why?? Because I don't want people to think I think I'm better than them, or that I think too much of myself. Because I don't think that, and I certainly don't think too much of myself most days (on the contrary...).
But at orientation and this reception, we were ALL professors who spent way too many years in college! So I didn't feel like I would be braggy to say I finished my Ph.D. or that I am a professor.
Everyone I talk to back home is so excited for me, and my family is proud of me and my accomplishments. That makes me feel really great. No one has ever made me feel like I should feel guilty or bad about who I am. I guess it's just that Midwestern egalitarian spirit or something that makes me afraid to be proud of myself. Weird. But, then, at the same time, I'm glad. I don't ever ever ever want to be the kind of person who "thinks herself so much" (to use my grandma's phrase). If only I could balance being proud and confident with being modest and humble. For now, though, I'd rather err on the side of modest. I hate arrogant jerks!
(You'd think a professor would be able to write a more coherent blog entry than this. But you'd be wrong.)