It's that time of year when I imagine that I'm still a freshman in university, ready to take on an all-nighter to get everything done and in on schedule. It being the last week of school, there is the attendant mark collection, the corralling of stray and truant assignments, and, of course, various other last minute tasks to attend to.
When I first started teaching in Dubai, I was gung-ho about getting a school newspaper up and running. I tried to whip up some interest in my students, but journalism, in this part of the world, has never been what you might call a "high profile" profession. What budding Bob Woodward's there are or were, they quickly learned to turn their energies and talents to something that is more likely to ensure they stay hale, healthy, and free.
So with little interest in getting this project going on the student side, and being the optimistic sort, I figured that all that was needed was someone to do the grunt work, and soon enough students could be drawn in. Later I stretched that to include students and faculty. The students, faculty, and administrators.
For that first issue, I'd managed to squeeze contributions from a number of students, a teacher or two, but the rest ended up being ghostwritten. A colleague had pitched in to help with the copy-editing, and the first issue was a resounding success. Sort of.
Unbeknownst to me, I'd annoyed more than a few people, caused offense through excluding them (instead of begging for help, perhaps abject begging was called for?), and in that regard you could say the success was tempered.
The following year I head great plans to try for an issue every month or two, and stepped into action, only to have other events and occurrences dampen my enthusiasm to the point where I forgot about the whole project entirely. Until, two days before the big end of year open day, I got a call kindly requesting an issue, pronto.
In this world, there are requests, and there are requests. Code for get it done.
This year, as happened last year, other events and occurrences dampened my enthusiasm to step out and do anything other than my job (Amazing how that happens). And in another case of deja vu, a few days before the "big day" the call came in.
Stepping out has its consequences, not the least of which is learning that your university days are so far long and gone that you might as well be reserving a nice spot under a shady tree with a good view of eternity.
Still, when things got to be done, you got to get them done.