I love my job in the Writing Center. There is a great group of dedicated consultants and a supporting director. However, the society within the center is changing. Changing in a way that leaves me on the edges. This is not a 'bad' thing; it is what is happening.
Before I get into this more, I am not hurt or angry about this. Centers change and progress as the consultants come and go. I have seen my center change many times in many ways over the last three and a half-ish years. So I am not mad or hurt. The center is changing and I am not as much a part of it as before.
There are a number of good reasons for this. First, I am not working as many hours this year. My lack of exposure to the new crew prevents forming close bonds, and it prevents me from integrating into the changes.
Second, I am teaching now and I do not have as much time to just sit and talk with the other consultants. Years past I would spend my free time on the couch chatting with whomever was in the center. No longer.
Third, I am not a highly social person. I am comfortable in groups and can move easily within and between groups, but I do not often intentionally seek out groups or new friends. I rely on work and classes to introduce me to new people. This is important because a large portion of the other consultants is highly social, so they form groups and friendships and networks that I am not part of. It is not that I am actively excluded--at least, I do not think I am--it is that I do not seek these networks out.
So what does this mean? I do not know. For me, it means that I am watching a new group of consultants make the center their own. I see--partially--how eager, enthusiastic, energetic students become consultants and form their identity in the center.
But for a wider group, for other centers or my own, I think it means that every center is not a place or an idea, but rather the people who call it theirs. That sounds romantic and cheesy when I read back over it. However, from where I sit, my center is growing and changing in ways I would not direct it, but it is still my center.