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2020: Welcome to a new decade!

January 31, 2020
Dr. Tamara Leary

New Year, New Decade

Not only a new year but a new decade!  In addition to the annual year reflection that hits me every December 31st this year I pondered about the last ten years. Where was I in 2010 and what was I doing? Memories came flooding back. Some memories brought laughter and comfort and others brought sadness and regret. In 2010 I was in search of a job change and struggling to keep momentum to finish my doctoral studies, with courses completed the rest was up to me and while self-directed study offers great flexibility it can also foster procrastination and a sense of isolation. My daughters were busy navigating their teenage worlds with one at 17 and one at 13.

Between 2010 and 2020 I completed the doctorate (2012), changed jobs in 2012 and 2015, moved from one coast to another, transitioned from being an administrator to a faculty member (not finished with that transition yet!), grieved the loss of loved ones, travelled abroad, achieved some goals and abandoned others- every event taught me something about myself, relationships, people and life. Most of my learning happened outside of a classroom. Grateful for the many lessons learned in the last decade I wonder what teachings await me in the next. I suspect that retirement (where did the time go?), more celebration, more loss and more travel will all be parts of my next decade – so much more to experience and to learn!

Reflection & Life Lessons

We know that education is not restricted to a classroom. Whether we are formally holding the title of “student” or not we are constantly learning through our experiences. Sometimes we intentionally seek meaning from our experience and other times we just roll with it – not sure why something has unfolded the way it has but trusting it will make sense at some point. Not every teachable moment is the result of a positive or pleasant experience. Some of my greatest life lessons come from the most difficult experiences. We get to choose what we do with what we learn.

As you start your own decade I encourage you to be open to learning from all your experiences - those in the classroom and those beyond it. Reflect on your experiences and search for their meaning. Celebrate your successes and be kind to yourself through challenges or disappointments. If you are a School of Education and Technology (SET) student, know that with each completed assignment and course you are one step closer to reaching your goal, there will be a graduation in your next 10 years! If you are a SET faculty or staff, I hope that each day offers opportunity for laughter and learning. In 2030, SET will be that much richer because of the contributions you will all make over the next decade! Here we go.....