TITLE: It's Not Them; It's Me AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: August 30, 2007 5:57 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I recently realized something. In books with academic settings, one often sees images of the professor, deep in thought, strolling along the tree-lined walks of campus. Students bustle about on the way between classes. The professor walks along, carefree, absorbed in whatever interesting problem has his or her mind. (All too often, it's a him.) Even if he is running late, has a meeting to attend or a class to lead, he hurries not. He is a professor and leads a life of his own design, even if administrators and students try to impinge on his time. Whatever deep thought occupies his mind comes first. So peaceful. Movies show us these images, too. So peaceful. I've never been like that. My campus setting looks much like the ones described in books and movies (though lately ours has looked more like a construction zone than an old-Ivy plat), but I always seem to be in hurry. Can't be late for class, or late for that meeting. Too much to do. I've often asked myself, when will it be like in the books and movies. My realization: The problem isn't with my campus or even my university. It's me. The images in the books and movies are different because the prof ambling peacefully along isn't me. It's Professor Kingsfield. Many of these characters are clichés even when done well, but in any case they are different from me. The only way for me to live out those images is to modify my own behavior or outlook. Peace comes from inside, not out there. But I don't think I am in need of a change... I'm not restless or dissatisfied; I'm just busy being me, solving problems and thinking about the latest something to cross my path. So maybe what I need to change is my expectation -- the expectation that I can or even should be like the fictional people I see in those scenes. I suspect that having unrealistic expectations is the cause of as much disharmony as having the "wrong outlook". The outlook isn't always wrong. Sometimes it's just me. -----