August 20, 2007



Our campus is quiet all summer: we don't offer undergraduate courses. When I went in for a meeting last week, I had no trouble finding a parking spot. The library, which has just been renovated, was filled with empty chairs, new wooden tables, clean carpeting. Most of the faculty offices near mine were empty, too, the doors closed and the lights off.

Tonight I went in to meet with the group of students who came back early because they have agreed to act as mentors to the first year students. Most of them are students I've known since their first year: some are seniors now. When I walked in, they were all sitting on the floor of the lounge, tired from a full day of training, but when one student yelled my name, the rest looked up eagerly to greet me. How good it was to see students again, tanned and relaxed, filled with stories about what they did over the summer. One student spent the summer doing field work up in the mountains with PlantsWoman; she was excited to discover that ethnobotany is something she wants to pursue in grad school.

The campus will awaken slowly over the next few days, as faculty members rush to copy syllabi, the library staff begins putting books on reserve, and student life staff train the student orientation leaders. By the end of the week, all the students will return, moving back into residence halls or off-campus housing, bringing with them duffle bags of clothes, laptop computers and guitars, books and CDs and snowboards. By next week at this time, students will be gathering in clumps in the library or on the quad, talking, hugging, and laughing, their energy filling all the empty spaces.


Marie said...

I love this reflection, and this picture. For now, my life also revolves around the academic calendar too, and I love the rhythm.

Yankee T said...

...and what's good news for the colleges, is bad news for the mamas. My house will be so quiet.

argon(one) said...

This picture is awesome. You have such an artistic eye for composition, light and color. I always enjoy seeing your pictures and reading your stories.

kathy a. said...

even as a student, i loved the relative quiet of summer on campus. also loved the rush of excitement when fall term cranks up -- more experienced students passing their wisdom and enthusiasm to the newcomers, professors doing the same, so many open doors for all.

my house will be much quieter in a few weeks, when baby girl goes off to college. her life will be much fuller, though -- i'm hoping she has the time of her life, checking all those open doors.

Bridget said...

love the picture- it's just chairs, but sheesh, it's very very cool.

Rana said...

And, see, this is why you're a good teacher! You're being inspired by that return of academic energy! :)