reason #342 i love working on a college campus.

As soon as I saw the call on my cellphone was from our college’s chief of staff, I figured an otherwise quiet Friday before Commencement would soon change. When she started the conversation with “We have a problem …,” that confirmed it. But it’s what she said next that surprised me.

“Would you be interested in interviewing Naomi Wolf on WRVO?” Seriously? The best-selling author and activist coming to speak at Oswego’s Commencement? On our popular and award-winning public radio station? Um, seriously?

Apparently a scheduling wrinkle meant no reporters were available for the in-studio interview with Wolf late on a Friday, so the call to the bullpen went to a recovering journalist. So I’d have to drop a few things to do some in-depth research on Wolf so I didn’t sound like a moron. But seriously … how could I possibly say no?

Despite my rustiness on a mic and occasionally rambling questions, the interview came out pretty well. Listen for yourself! Wolf is an engaging and eloquent guest, which made my job easy. A couple times she said “that’s a very good question,” although she’s enough of a pro she may well use that to make the interviewer feel good while composing her thoughts. Still, I hoped my questions about what made her write The Beauty Myth, what changes the landmark work may have brought, her transition to writing about civil liberties and freedom, and what advice she had for graduates contributed to the conversation.

But moreover, it reminded me of the unpredictability — sometimes wonderful — of working at a college. I’ve talked to a lot of graduating students in the past week who discussed how much they’ll miss it. As one said, this is her last chance to live among people all her own age and in similar stages of life. Every day is a new adventure for them … and for us!

Where else can you find yourselves making new friends, learning new things every day? That applies to students and, to a certain degree, any of us working on campuses. My favorite metaphor for a college is a giant laboratory where all of us are discovering and trying new things. Not every day involves unexpectedly interviewing a brilliant bestselling author, but the promise of some serendipitous development always exists in a place of learning.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “reason #342 i love working on a college campus.

  1. Georgy

    Thanks for this post, Tim! I like your metaphor for college quite a bit — and the “all of us” definitely extends beyond the students to folks like us.

    I sometimes describe college as an incubator for awesomeness. You’re never quite sure exactly how the process is going to turn out, but amazing stuff is afoot.

    And congrats again on your fun opportunity🙂

  2. Such a nice perk of working in higher ed. I got to interview Tom Hanks once under similar circumstances. Thanks for the uplifting post!

  3. Name dropper! LOL. Congrats!

    Although I could see this going in a Seinfeldian direction a la “John” Voight (YouTube). For your sake, I’m glad it didn’t.

  4. Tim Nekritz

    GEORGY: “Incubator for awesomeness” is cool too! : )

    DAVINA: You have me beat. Must have been nearly a surreal experience!

    ANDREW: Before this, the biggest name I interviewed probably would have been Timothy Leary, but I doubt he remembered any of it.

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