A long weekend has started here in Canada. Technically it starts after work today for me, but campus sure is more quiet today. This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I am pausing between meetings to share thoughts about gratitude. 

1. I have gratitude to the team of people who have kept me healthy this year, and this includes the family doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, and oral surgeon. 

2. I have gratitude for my family. I am noting that this is for my kin and my made family. My family supports me and I do not thank them enough. 

3. Deep gratitude for my in laws. I could not manage my week without the help that they offer. I am extremely lucky to have them five minutes away from us. Our family Excel spreadsheet is a thing of beauty and if they did not do a drop off or pick up it would make things more difficult for me. Thank you. 

4. I have gratitude to my co-workers. Here I am thinking those who I report to, later colleagues, my staff, and other colleagues across campus. I know that I am lucky to have a job that is my career. I have a privileged life enjoying my work, and feeling satisfied. 

5. I cannot finish this list without thanking about my students, and other students across campus. Thank you for making all of this worth it. Your energy makes me smile. Your questions motivate me. And, working with you is a pleasure. OK. It’s a pleasure most of the time! 

6. Thank you to my many mentors! I include a photo of Dr. Kathy Jones. I worked with her at SDSU–back when I was an undergrad and we have kept in touch. She’s one of the many amazing mentors I have had. Thanks, Kathy! 

It might not be Thanksgiving for you, but what is in your gratitude list? 


Send that Email: Thank Your Mentors

It’s that time of year when students have asked their mentors for letters of reference. While you wait to hear from the graduate, medical, or law school, you need to remember to send a quick update and perhaps thank you email to your letter writers. It’s good to remember to thank the team who helped you during the application process. People who took care of you, reviewed your statement of intent, and wrote you letters of reference.

Once you hear from the programs, make sure that you let your support team (friends, family, and your mentors) know that you got in or that you will be re-applying next year. I know that I appreciate the follow up emails. Also, remember that full-time tenure track faculty usually get paid a living wage and part of our expected duties includes mentoring and writing letters. However, the majority of faculty at universities are now contingent faculty who are exploited and are not paid a living wage–let alone paid to do this extra work. Many of these hard working colleagues write letters, mentor, and go above and beyond their job description. They are teaching work horses. This doesn’t mean that I like this or endorse it, but it is the sad reality of the two-tier system in higher education. Please remember to send them a thank you card, the coffee card or box of chocolates.

Good luck with the “waiting game.”