Thursday, December 23, 2010

Continuing to learn and reflect

I am spending the holidays both preparing to teach again this spring semester and anticipating becoming a student again at Medical College of Georgia. I plan to teach the capstone course in the masters of public administration program in a new and different way this time. I want my students to reflect upon themselves, what they have learned in the program, and how they hope to apply what they have learned in their future careers. As I think about my own future I find myself doing exactly what I hope they will do.

At an age at which many people anticipate retirement I am anticipating the next chapter in my career/life. My work is too much my life and I don't want to retire. I had difficulty with career decisions early in my life for multiple reasons. One needs to be proactive about one's career choice. Compared to some of my colleagues my vitae is not a neat linear progression. A Methodist bishop once said that in order to become a bishop one must know one's career path by age 16. In most vocations today preparation meets opportunity and one one proceeds forward by a series of hypotheses. I think one is well advised to follow one's heart but with a solid sense of what kinds of opportunities are likely to unfold.

Experience is valuable if not clung to too tightly. I hope for myself what I hope for my (generally much younger) students. I hope to make good choices based on reasonable hypotheses. I hope to have good instructors at Medical College of Georgia, while continuing to strive to be a good instructor to my students. In a way, we are each becoming what we have always been. It is a wonderful thing to teach; a better thing to learn; and wisdom to realize that the final examination is what one actually does with one's life.

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