I had been up late at night a lot, working. Mostly finishing up a large project from my previous job, but also responding to email: some of it more crisis-oriented than others. I expect students to be up then; that's the nature of college life. (And ideally, I would shift my schedule so that I start my day at ten, like they do.) But I've found that in this new universe, when I send email to colleagues at midnight, or one in the morning, or sometimes even later than that, I get instantaneous responses. Though our offices on campus are dark, I imagine us as a bright pool of electrons in the university network, still humming away as if we've never left the place. The other day, there was a crisis in our office, and most of my colleagues were actually in the office at midnight, with students; my only excuse was that I live an hour (or, at that time of night, 45 minutes) away.
Part of me has been grateful that I'm not the only one.
Part of me has been a little amazed. How could I ever hope to compete with these people who work just as hard as, or even harder than, I do? I was always the one at the edge, the one with the great ideas and the initiative to see them through to fruition, the one who got shit done. Then again, what I'm experiencing is not unlike what students experience when they arrive here: suddenly, the ones who who left everyone in the dust back home were one in hundreds just like them, or better.
But honestly, no part of me felt at all like this was abnormal, or undesirable.
In the middle of one of these conversations the other night, I posted on my Facebook page, something along these lines, being grateful for colleagues who made me feel like I wasn't the only nut online that late, but baffled by the competition. A lot of people "liked" the post, or commiserated, or said something equally self-congratulatory about their own dedication.
Shortly afterward, a friend of mine posted the following question: