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A new semester starts on Monday, and I’m preparing for it; but I’m more than 2,000 miles away from most of my students.

It’s tough to be so distant. I want to attend the orientation meetings they’re having. I want to have an office on campus where students can reach me. I want to be able to go to other offices on campus to make arrangements for my students.

I have one major consolation about the whole matter. Although most of my students will be physically near the college, not all will. Some are hundreds of miles away. In fact, I think at least one of them is about as far away as I am.

That means my distance will give me greater empathy for some of my students: particularly those who would most rarely find it, even from other online instructors. In some ways, I suppose, this is how it feels to leave the ninety and nine for the sake of the one.

I’m very glad to be in a position to help the one — glad enough to feel confident that what I’m doing is right. But I do miss the ninety and nine.