MathFest 2007

August 10, 2007 at 12:58 am | Posted in conference, math | Leave a comment

This entry was written on Thursday 8/2/07

I can do this.

I’m here at the Project NExT workshop in San Jose, California at the beginning of MathFest, the MAA annual summer conference.

I love Project NExT. I describe it in some detail here. There’s lots of workshops about things that concern people in the beginning of their careers as math professors. Lots of great people to make contacts with who are good at what they do and have expertise and a willingness to help and guide folks like me, or who are at the same stage as I am who are asking similar questions and with whom I can have some solidarity.

But perhaps the best thing about it for me this time is the much needed emotional boost. I need to be occasionally reminded that I can do this. I can be great at this. I have a great support network, I have the ability to be great at my job, and even though I feel overwhelmed and that I’m not really making progress and that I’m making so many mistakes, I can be great. They picked me as one of 80 Project NExT fellows from hundreds of applicants, which means I’ve already done good stuff, and that according to these people, these experienced people who include accomplished teachers, published authors, award winning student mentors, and an MAA president, I have the potential to be great.

I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this because sometimes I forget it. Sometimes I don’t believe it. But I can do this. I can be excellent at my job. I can work with my colleagues, I can inspire my students, and I can have a fulfilling life besides.

Thank you, Joe, Aparna, Chris, and Gavin.

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