Endings and Beginnings

Note: This post originally appeared at okmichelle.com and has been reposted with permission.

Today I sit at my kitchen table as the third week of classes winds down. I’m not at work, I’ve been off this week and next week as I transition from my previous job into the next one. After 17 years, I’m making a change. Ending something that no one thought would probably ever happen, including me. I’m leaving OU IT, the administrative side of campus, to go to the academic side to work for the College of Arts and Sciences.

So last week, as the second week of classes here at the University of Oklahoma came to a close and the usual hustle has slowed way, way down, I started realizing just how much was going to change for me. The last few weeks have probably been the busiest back to school (BTS) season that I’ve had in several years. There are so many activities happening, responsibilities piled on, things broke and needed fixing, it can be an overwhelming time. While it’s overwhelming, it’s also pretty wonderful. The excitement of the new students, the new instructors, the new opportunities, and challenges make BTS one of my favorite times of year. This one is bittersweet for me though as it’s my last one with OU IT. I’ve been working for OU IT for 17 years!

My father was running the campus computer store in 1997 and I was looking for a better job. Dad suggested I apply to be a “student assistant” in the computer labs (we have completely different names for these jobs now). I got an interview and apparently charmed my way into a job! I told the interviewer that I was a quick learner and willing to do whatever it took to do well there.

My career with OU IT began in August of 1997 during my undergrad and in 2001 I became a full time employee after receiving my graduate degree.

I started and never left.

This blog post has been started and stopped about 10 times over the last few weeks (I started writing it at the end of the first week of classes). I wrote a lot more, but decided to delete it. I don’t need to write out everything that happened over the last 17 years as I close out my career with OU IT. I know what I did, who I worked with, the great things that were done, and the things still left undone.

I had the privilege of working with a tremendous amount of wonderful people, both in OU IT and across campus. That was my favorite part of my job, the collaboration across campus. I’ll still get to do that, still get to see and work with my OU IT friends, and that makes me thankful. I learned so many things both in technology but also about people, working with a team, and definitely about campus politics! Many friendships were born out of my career in IT, friendships that have seen me through both professional and personal struggles. Friends that I will continue to have even as I leave, that’s an amazing gift in and of itself.

I’m thankful for a new start, a chance to learn new things, to do some good elsewhere and extremely thankful that I get to still stay at OU, the place I do love so dearly.

I will still support OU D2L, still work in academic technology, but it’s going to be on a smaller scale – just the College of Arts and Sciences now, though it is the biggest college and most of the people that I have helped over the years reside with CAS! I’m really looking forward to starting on September 15th and seeing where this new adventure takes me. I’m nervous, but I know everything will be alright!

Until the 15th, I’m taking time off to relax and that really means I’m basically cleaning the house and attempting to organize things!

For now, it’s time for some coffee!

Jeremy Hessman