Monday, November 15, 2021

Thankfulness

Remember in Harry Potter when Professor Lupin praised Harry for not being afraid of Voldemort, but rather being afraid of fear itself? Don’t even get me started on the psychological symbolism of dementors if you do not have a few minutes hours days to discuss all the good and bad symbolism in the series. But there is something in that particular moment that resonates with me. At this time of year, when everyone thinks about what they are grateful for, I think I most grateful for gratefulness.

I have a friend who writes a blog that is entirely about gratitude[1]. I love that it has been going on for 2054 days even though it started as a 30 day project. There was just too much to be thankful for in this world to be confined to one month. But in the Academic Support world, I think sometimes ASP faculty do not make the list for students, schools[2], or even as relevant enough to be considered in the U.S. News rankings. Our data on thankfulness is almost entirely anecdotal. So here is my list of what I am thankful for in Academic Support:

  1. The amazing academic writing produced by ASP people-wow, just wow,
  2. That this is most warm, generous, and kind assembly of colleagues in all the academic realm (seriously, I mean every seemingly over-the-top word here),
  3. Students who are essentially groupies. I love students who come by regularly without being asked or told to do so for all three or four years of law school,
  4. Not being the person who grades all the exams or papers-just helping with prep and other issues is highly liberating especially when you add the disclaimer, “of course, I am not grading this, so be sure to check with your [insert legal writing or doctrinal] professor also…,”
  5. Students who take my advice. I offer a lot of advice-some solicited and some not, but all well-meaning and with some evidence/experience/inside knowledge to back it up,
  6. When a plan comes together-it could be a study plan, a paper plan, a bar plan, or even a registration plan-when it works out for a student and they are successful, my heart grows three sizes (premature holiday reference, sorry).
  7. The beginning of the tenure conversation for ASP faculty. We may need a Patronus charm to get there, but we are in the room of requirement getting our wands ready for the battle.

There is more-there is always more. I am thankful for (among many other things) students who send me grading playlists, texts about successes from graduates, and being able to resume having an open-door policy this semester. But most of all, I am thankful for thankfulness. Gratitude is self-perpetuating.

(Liz Stillman)

 

[1] https://gratitudeathon.com/

[2] I am extremely lucky that my school has truly valued ASP work and faculty.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2021/11/thankfulness.html

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