Ahhh. August. That was always the best time of the year for me as a kid. Summer vacation. The pool. The beach (or ocean or shore – depends on your geography). As I’ve aged, however, I’ve noticed that August has changed. It’s gone from the best month of the year to the hottest month of the year. Work has invaded. My biological clock starts ticking in August. No, not that one. The one that forces you to start thinking about pencils and pens, notebooks, new shoes, mini-refrigerators, and all the other stuff needed for heading back to school. Maybe it’s watching your first grader stepping onto a bus for the first time or packing up and shipping off your college freshman; the start of school has become a rebirth of sorts, like January 1st, a time to start over. Or maybe you’re reminded about the start of school because you’re sitting behind one of those blasted school buses when you’re running late for work.
My three are heading back to school next week and the excitement (and the simultaneous despair in their eyes), brings me back to my youth. Remember when you thought that going to school was so hard? Homework. Tests. Term papers. Who wouldn’t kill to go back to high school or college right now to avoid the stress of work? The sheer excitement of that first day. The syllabus. Seeing old friends. Campus parties. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather face an Economics 101 exam or sit through a Chemistry lecture than worry about filling the top and bottom of my prospect funnel.
Ok, so you work at a college. That’s a little tougher. You can’t really go back to college since you probably never left the campus in the first place. What’s new and refreshing for you? Is there an easier way to do what you need to do? Can work be fun?
Challenges for higher ed personnel have certainly increased over the last five years. A more corporate environment has invaded. Accountability to the bottom line and pressure to hit goals has never been higher. And, it probably will get tougher before it gets any easier. There is hope, however. The “corporate invasion” has brought new marketing tools to help you fight your battles. It’s time to embrace the new. Timely data. Real, targeted, relevant, cost effective communications. Channel integration.
The transition from summer to school doesn’t have to be stressful. When you have full classes, lower financial aid awarded, and high alumni participation rates, you can have summer year round. Now if only we could do something about those buses.