It’s hard to believe sometimes that 19 years have passed, but then I remember I have a freshman in college. I’ve been teaching at Stevenson University since 2000, when I was pregnant with my first child. I remember getting the job and being excited to be teaching at a four-year institution. I’d been teaching at well-respected community colleges in the area, and had loved my time with them. But teaching at Stevenson University (then Villa Julie College) was something I wanted to try.
I had come to crossroads in my life. I had been teaching as an adjunct since 1993 and had left a full-time job in Baltimore at the newspaper in town. While I learned a lot during the year I was at the newspaper (having spent the previous 13 years at the Baltimore Orioles), I was ready for something new. And, at the time, my husband and I were trying to have children. A conversation along the River Thames in London prompted me to quit my job and focus on teaching and starting my own business. When we returned from our two week vacation, I set up shop and began my small communications company in November. Within two weeks, I had three clients. That income, combined with my adjunct teaching, allowed me to be an entrepreneur and teacher and was the moment I began to do what I love.
I first taught Advanced Journalism I and Advanced Journalism II at Stevenson. My then department chair and I revamped the courses into three new classes years later, when I began to teach more and our program began to grow. In 2008 when my second child was in school all day in kindergarten, I learned there was a full-time opening in Business Communication, and I jumped at the chance to be there. I interviewed for the position—a somewhat intimidating experience—and, biting my nails, I waited to hear if I got the job.
When I received the call that I was hired, my life changed again. I worked more, had to go back to school for an M.F.A., and loved my new role as a member of the Business Communication faculty.
I’m still there. Now a full professor.
Yes. Nineteen years later, and I still get just as excited by the prospect of a new semester as I did back then.
I guess you can say I love it, and the spring semester always gives me a sense of renewal and energy. After a long winter break this year, tomorrow begins another chapter, and for some students, the last semester of their undergraduate experience. I’m excited for them, and as well, am excited to meet some of the freshman class and mingle with our sophomores and juniors.
I can’t wait to see what we all learn together in Spring 2019.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry, and an academic textbook Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt, that she co-authored with colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus & Chip Rouse.