I would be remiss if I didn’t write a blog post about my new gig. This semester, I began as an Assistant Professor of Music at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. If you told me a year ago (or even six months ago) that this is the direction my career would take me, I simply would not have believed you. Now that I’ve been at the job for long enough to feel settled in, I can give you a bit of an introduction.
My summer was hectic. After being offered and accepting the job, we immediately began making plans to move our belongings, our lives, and ourselves 1377.15 miles from where we were living at the time. The pressure was on, especially since my husband had his full-time job and there were friends to still enjoy (and say goodbye to). I was also preparing to present at the British Flute Society convention, which took place right before the beginning of the semester.
Once I got back on this side of the pond and got into the swing of things, life has settled down somewhat. My teaching load this semester includes applied flute students, woodwind pedagogy, and world music. I’ve taught these before, except for the woodwind pedagogy. My time working with a homeschool band group gives me a background in pedagogy of the OTHER woodwinds, and a very helpful colleague is also a great resource. (Shout out to the amazing Bret Pimentel at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.) I’m also recruiting quite a bit. While I am not building a studio from the ground up, my predecessor here was part-time so there is an opportunity to expand the studio from its already-healthy size.
As a native Southerner, I was first introduced to the Midwestern work ethic as a graduate student at Indiana University. I can assure you that it is alive and well in South Dakota. With very few exceptions, the students here are extremely hard workers and are receptive to new ideas. It is making my job easier.
I’m also enjoying working on my other projects. I have the opportunity to write, perform in various locations, travel, meet new colleagues, collaborate on different projects, and continue to enjoy a varied career. I’m also really excited to learn about this part of the country, which I have never seen before and which is so different from what I am accustomed to. While my lack of knowledge about this state has required me to print out a map of South Dakota and tape it next to my desk, I think I will learn the area quickly enough.
Yes, it’s cold and very windy. Lately it feels like Christmastime in the South. I have unpacked most of my warmest clothes. I anticipate spending a good hunk of change upgrading my wardrobe this year. But I will figure it out, and if I don’t, please come dig me out of a snowdrift.
After paying my dues for what seemed like a very long time, I’m deeply appreciative of a job that I truly enjoy with colleagues who are a lot of fun to work with and students who are incredibly hard workers.