The Changing Seasons of the Academic Calendar


It’s August first, and I can feel the season change even though it’s warm outside. That’s because I base my seasons on the academic calendar, and there are only three seasons: fall semester, spring semester, and summer.

I’m approaching the end of summer right now, so I’m beginning to prepare for fall semester, updating my online classwork, getting a new work computer, finishing up my internships, cleaning up and rearranging my office (already done!), setting up my calendar … the rhythm of life changes.

Fall semester is the beginning of my calendar, as it brings new things: A shiny new school year, new students, beginning meetings (ok, not everything about the new school year is wonderful). It also embraces football (American) tailgates, dressing up for Halloween, the feast of Thanksgiving, the Christmas season and its associated rituals on a college campus. 

Spring semester starts with winter — the Christmas snow is now slushy and dirty, the beginning of the semester meetings seem like same old same old, and Valentine’s Day as a holiday just doesn’t measure up to Christmas. But then come Spring, and the unexpected: the Northwest Yeti comes out of hiding, there’s a big cow statue in front of the Hy-Vee grocery store, art installations spring up like mushrooms, and students plunge into the chilly waters of Colden Pond for charity. 

Then we come back to summer, where things slow down, and faculty spend their summers teaching abroad or taking on interns or taking summer classes or teaching short, intensive summer classes. And going on vacation. My summer has been spent supervising interns, taking a class for my certification in Disaster Mental Health, doing moulage (simulating physical injury and illness for training purposes), and taking a mini-vacation. And writing. 

So that is my year, and the signs of a seasonal change keep popping up: the announcement of beginning of semester meetings, the back-to-school sales, discussions of how well our football team may do this year (we have one of the best Division II teams in the nation, which for those of you in other countries would be like a lower division soccer league), and emails from students trickling in. 

It should be a good year.

******************

Yesterday was a tough day — two rejections (one agent, one submission of a short story). I don’t feel so bad about the short story rejection, because I think my choice of genre (fantasy) might keep my work from being accepted by some markets. And there’s a lot of competition.

I need to toughen up about agent rejections. 

I truly believe at this point that I’m getting rejections because of something as simple as fashion, and I will believe that until someone says otherwise. I’m willing to improve, but I’ve improved as much as dev editors, beta readers, publishing coaches, and my own judgment have allowed me to.

Please wish me luck. I’m serious. 

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