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The Hopes of a New Professor

Updated on June 18, 2017
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Marion is an environmental scientist, geographer, and researcher. Find him in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Wordpress.

This is exactly how I want to look like when I am tenured.
This is exactly how I want to look like when I am tenured. | Source

It was mid-March this year when I saw the advertisement. My home department called for applications for a full-time faculty member. I had a pending application for a consulting firm then for a project that was not really my expertise, but I felt more excited towards a future of me as a professor.

It was not my dream.

In college, classmates have often told me that I am fit to be a teacher. I have often shut the idea down: I know teaching is not a profitable occupation and I was dreaming of owning a car two years after college.

Ironically, six years after graduation, I find myself indulged of entering the academic life again now as a Professor.

What about you?

Is being a professor a dream or a nightmare?

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It may be a nightmare.

As I weighed the decision to pursue, I read an article narrating the top stresses of being a university professor. The issues detailed involved struggles towards university politics, salary, and research woes. Ten reasons were enumerated which would have been more than enough for me to withdraw from the pursuit and find another job opportunity.

But, I cannot: I wanted to continue. I wanted to know if I am qualified to become a mentor in a premier university. I believe that I must become a professor and I must heed the call of academia.

It is filled with hope.

Every endeavor starts with a vision - an ideal situation composed of the best conditions. The picture of success is the reason to start. As I start a career as a assistant professor, here are reasons I am hopeful.

  • I am enthusiastic to help students learn learning. Learning is a natural, lifelong process. We never stop learning, even involuntarily. The classroom is a two-way avenue: I hope to ride on it and meet students halfway. I will learn from my students as they also learn from me. Looking forward, I wait for the day I get to congratulate the first batch of graduates of my class.
  • I know teaching does not mean knowing it all. Even the best scientists and philosophers are stumped by life's greatest questions. Being a mentor, a professor, is simply telling people what you know so they will also know it. One does not need perfect knowledge on any subject.
  • I love speaking in front of people and telling them what to do. I believe that I have not experienced stage fright. I also speak better to a crowd than in a one-on-one conversation.
  • I will be paid to research, publish papers, and attend talks. Having a job in a premier university is a golden ticket to the best academic talks - within walking distance. When I worked at private companies, I was envious of some friends who got to attend forums and talks because they worked at the university. I will be able to do that now too.
  • I will be surrounded by the best minds of the country. Academia feels like home. I have spent more years in school than outside it, so I will be basically at home. Plus, I have the best neighbors: PhD holders, national scientists, published researchers.

It will be worth it.

Until now, I remember the best professors and mentors I had in college. They helped me become a complete student of life. I aspire for this too: I will leave a legacy to students through improved perspectives after taking my classes.

Are you currently a professor? What tips and thoughts can you give me?

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