I find the return to school every fall very exciting. I like the start-up rituals. I still have to have new stuff—pens, notebooks, calendars, and of course new shoes. I am glad to see the faces of my friends and colleagues again and to hear what they have been doing since I saw them last. I love to see former students again and meet new students. I’m eager for classes to start. I haven’t yet gotten behind on my paperwork and phone calls.
At the same time, there is always a certain amount of anxiety at this time of year. I worry about how I am going to allocate my time so that I can get everything done without killing myself. And I worry about whether, in the crush of the year’s activities, I can preserve my soul. I know I am not the only one who feels such ambivalence about the start of a new year, or who wonders how to get through the year without losing one’s soul, or one’s faith, or one’s intellectual integrity.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).