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When It Isn’t Yours Anymore

I had an idea for a trip for honors students. It was just to go up the road about three hours to the National Aquarium, in Baltimore. Our honors program is in its pilot year, and it’s mostly about cultural and academic “experiences” while we work on developing our actual academic component.

The trip will still happen, but it’s going to be different from how I envisioned it. I wanted it to be a way to establish “community,” something that I think is missing from our little school, though it’s getting a bit better. I wanted to provide lunch to those involved. I wanted to give the non-honors college community a chance to attend, after giving honors students first dibs of course.

That would be expensive, but I thought it would’ve gone miles toward building camaraderie among people at various levels in the college, as well as getting honors students to bond.

As I said, the trip is still going to happen, but the administrators in charge didn’t think lunch was worth paying for, so lunch is now “on your own.” The bureaucratic powers that be didn’t think chartering a bus and inviting other faculty members, staff members, alumni, etc., along with non-honors students, was really worth it (we had a few spots for non-honors students on the college-owned bus, but those non-honors students will have to pay full price for their tickets).

It’s not going to be a bad trip, and I will attend with an open mind and positivity. Really, it’s only slightly modified from my original vision, but it still isn’t what I had in mind. It’s not mine anymore.

And there’s the rub.

What if, somehow, the trip is deemed a failure? I don’t think it will happen, but what if the students reported a sort of disengagement—the kind of disengagement that could be avoided with, say, a meal together? What if other professors, staff members, or alumni think, just for a moment, about how they would’ve liked to have gone on the trip? What if it even led to a little resentment that they hadn’t even been invited? Whose idea was it to take the trip anyway? And the answer to that last question is that it was my idea. To this I say that it was my idea to go to the National Aquarium, but the trip—this trip—wasn’t really my idea.

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