It makes for a wonderful department. I know when I was the newbie, it was not the same as it is today. Back then, there was a great deal of formality. Also, competition was ever present. I was often made to feel as though my degree were somehow less than others (EdD vs PhD). Thankfully, that has changed. Instead of competitive, we cheer one another's successes. We mentor. We look for ways to bring the newbies into the tenured fold.
I cherish these last few years of teaching. I love the new folks who have come on board. I think this year will be not only one with successes but one with JOY along the way. Finishing up a career in a position where joy and laughter and happiness are more important than degrees, vita, and such makes us more of a family and less of a department.
So, yes, I am nervous and excited about that first day back tomorrow and all the other days to come.