"Known and Unknown" by Class IV Dean Dave Ulrich
I am looking at the ten-day forecast with a bit of trepidation. Eight days of gray, one day of sun, and a strong threat of snow (this has, in fact, come to pass in the process of writing this article). The elements are clearly in flux, and at points, the prospects can be daunting.
I find that the academic clime is similar as we approach Spring Break. Class IV students have just met with advisors to discuss their academic course load for the coming year. The transition is exciting, though sometimes overwhelming. In Class III, the onus of scholarship begins to shift along with the cognitive development of the students. Much of the scaffolding so sturdily in place for freshmen begins to yield to expectations of more proactive student engagement.
Students are prepared, though. They will continue to benefit from the strong relationships they have established with their peers, their teachers, their coaches and their advisors. Lessons learned throughout the past few months will continue to guide and inform academic growth. The worldview of each student will expand, figuratively and literally.
As many of you know, Nobles offers a rich variety of experiences domestically and abroad. Trips to New Orleans, Cambodia, Vietnam, Rwanda, India and Romania allowed students and faculty to experience news ways of life and new paths of learning. Some of these experiences seem overwhelming at first. I encounter the same anxiety in my first-year language students when they are asked to communicate exclusively in a language that is new to them. Many wish to have a script, in order to assure themselves of all possible eventualities and to work out in advance ways of answering questions and addressing challenges.
This is not, fortunately, how life works. We are not able to script every encounter, nor are we to aim always for perfection. We should, however, strive to approach novel situations with confidence in the lessons we have already learned, and a curiosity about the lessons still out there for our enlightenment. We employ known skills in order to navigate the unknown.
With this in mind, I am confident that Class IV students will find success. Whether navigating mercurial weather, the academic terrain of Class III, or the splendor of the world around us, may we take a moment to reflect on the lessons of today so we may embrace our future endeavors.
I wish you all a successful close to the Class IV year!
Class IV Dean