Goodbye, WWU

I just finished teaching my last class at Western Washington University.

Up until actually setting foot in Iowa, this whole thing was somewhat surreal. And the same is true for this summer quarter – now that it’s come to an end it’s all finally setting in. I’m excited for this new adventure, but I’m leaving the best job I’ve ever had. I’m much more emotional than I expected.

I had a wonderful Research Methods class this quarter, in addition to the past two summer quarters. Every single student has been delightful, and every class has bonded and had a great time. A great time while learning about things like sampling and statistics, mind you. I take absolutely no credit for this. Students, and their previous professors, are entirely to thank. I’ve definitely been on a lucky streak with Comm 398 and secretly think it was the universe’s way of pushing me toward a PhD program (so I can have stronger credentials to teach the course in the future, with greater frequency).

However, it hasn’t been a cakewalk. There have definitely been challenging moments, days, weeks, and quarters. And challenging students. There – I said it! I’m not going to say anything more; already it feels odd and perhaps somewhat unprofessional to be discussing my professional life in a public forum. And it is not meant to be. But in a profession that seems to overtake your personal life to such a strong degree, and one that requires great sacrifices for your family members (dogs included), it’s simply a large part of me.

I’ll most likely be teaching two courses per semester at the University of Iowa during the next 4 years. I don’t know precisely what I’ll be teaching, or where we’ll end up in 2014. But I guess that’s what makes it exciting. If someone told me, at the age of 17, as a student at Wenatchee Valley College in Podunk Small Town USA that by the age of 30 I would have earned not just a BA but an MA, that I would be working on a PhD, that I would have lived in 6 states and traveled to 25 states, and that I would be happily married with 6 dogs, I would have fainted. Who knows where the next decade will take Sim and I. But life seems to be full of pleasant surprises.

Okay, knock on wood now. I know it’s superstitious and super silly, but do it! Sim used to carry a piece of wood with him in our Jeep Cherokee that sat in the cupholder, so he could always knock on wood. Obviously the traditional has worn off on me.

WWU, I bid you farewell. Here are just a few favorite moments caught on tape during our time together, compliments of my Fall 2009 Small Group Communication students.

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