The Biorhythms of the Academic Year

Date: March 24, 2023

I have had the joy of serving educational institutions for over thirty years. And I have learned to attend to the biorhythms of the academic year. Now I am using the word “biorhythms” as an analogy; it isn’t the same as the cycle of sleeping and waking, but I do think it captures a truth about educational institutions.

The summer is a delightful gift. We return in August and September rested and ready to go. We have missed our class; we are looking forward to engaging with the degree. It is a good time. Then as the weather gets colder, but we have Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to. Then we hit January. The months of January, February, and March are hard. This is the season of hard slog. There is a reason why the Church calendar sends us all into Lent, which fits the weather patterns of the northern hemisphere. We are miserable and supposed to be miserable. Then slowly spring comes and Easter arrives. And normally, the semester finishes in a state of more joy.

Being sensitive to the biorhythms of the academic year is important. Issues in our community feel different at this stage of this academic year. This does not mean that they not important; they still are. However, the weight these issues can carry sometimes feels a little different. On the whole, as I told Dean’s Table yesterday, I think we are carrying the challenges of this season well and not allowing the issues (which are there – the affiliation, some staff turnover etc.) to get out of perspective. For this, I am grateful.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and President of the General Theological Seminary

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