Midnight in Madison

Tonight I sit in a quiet hotel room, classical music drifting out of the alarm clock, with a view of the lighted Capitol just behind the gauzy curtains.

I should write about the intellectual stimulation, the debates between the quantitative and qualitative practitioners, or the development of my project.

But tonight, I want to write about the fun of socializing with new friends and fellow academics. I’ve met some amazing people here who are so dedicated to their disciplines, and who care deeply about teaching well and making a difference. They also like to eat, drink, share stories, and, above all, laugh.

Tonight a group of us went to a much posher theater than I have ever been to, and plunked done our hard earned state wages to see the newest Woody Allen flick Midnight in Paris. I was smitten with the cinematography of gorgeous Paris, and giddy with the utter literariness of the story.

But I especially loved the camaraderie of this group, which included a French professor, a former English major who specializes in communication disorders, a consumer economist, and an IT specialist (and me). The dorky giddiness was cause for celebration and discussion, and I think we all left the theater a little lighter after an intense few days.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to connect and to grow as a professional, and I hope the personal lessons of kindness, curiosity, and optimism these colleagues share stick with me even when the work of teaching and research becomes difficult. As it will.

But we’ll always have evening in Madison.

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