Although the first official day of autumn was last month, we are finally feeling the change from summer to fall in New York City. The nights are cooler and crisp days are coming soon. The gorgeousness of New York City's fall foliage is an anticipated tradition for New Yorkers and often a happy surprise for newcomers. Yes, Mother Nature reminds us of her magnificent omnipresence even in the concrete jungle. (For tips on the best places to see New York City's fall splendor, click here
.) Change is in the air, literally.
Change can be invigorating, but also unnerving. I worry daily about climate change as well as what changes will come as a result of our divided world. Yet, here at home, I am delighted we have welcomed a new Provost to TC, Professor Stephanie Rowley
, and I am thrilled that she is a psychologist. I am heartened to see our newest students getting more comfortable on campus and settling into their semester routines. But, I startle at an email from an alum who tells me she graduated nearly a decade ago (wasn't she just in my class?) and that the OHDCC leadership team and I are already talking about succession. I am bewildered by the fact that Facebook is out (long out) in my house and TikTok is in.
A recent opinion piece in The New York Times, penned by a millennial, mourns the closing of the dining car on long-distance Amtrak trains
. She wrote that she and others of her generation have been shaped to believe that they should maximize their time, choose optimal efficiency, and strive to be nomad citizens of the world - always on the go, always in transition. She yearns for more moments of slowing down, of paying attention, and of lingering in settings like the Amtrak dining car, where strangers can meet and share stories.
In addition to the changing leaves, autumn means Major League Baseball playoffs. Both my sons' favorite teams - the New York Yankees for my younger son and the Washington Nationals for my older one - are currently in contention for the World Series. I relish my boys' invitation to sit on the couch and watch the games with them. Baseball games are long, usually more than three hours, and that means at least three hours of cheering, chatting, snacking, teasing and laughing with my children, who, in a minute, will not be children anymore.
Embracing change and standing still - I am working on doing both. I appreciate my colleagues' wisdom regarding some of our program's core competencies - leading and managing change, navigating continuous change, understanding systemic change, and embracing lifelong learning. Our program provides a guide for all of us to learn to be better change agents, to change well and for the greater good. I hope we might all also remember to slow down, to spend time with each other, to talk to one another, to chat and snack and laugh together - not to maximize or optimize anything at all except our collective joy.