Despite the rain, students were standing outside today, clutching magic markers and chatting as they signed their names to a 32-foot steel beam that will be part of a new building on campus. “I’m a senior, so I won’t be here to enjoy the new building,” said Baseball Cap. “But I want to be part of campus history.”
“I can’t believe we’re graduating,” said Silky Hair. “I’m happy and sad and excited.”
Inside my classroom, I felt the same mix of feelings. Over the semester, we formed a community. We read each other’s papers, shared ideas, and got into long discussions, often with tangents that were more meaningful than the original topic. By this last day of class, we know which student is likely to tell a funny story about his crazy family, and which student will deepen the discussion with a philosophical question. We know which student just finished climbing the 46 high peaks, which student loves to dance, and which students are working to prevent hydrofracking.
“We’re living inside a bubble,” one student kept saying all semester. “We care about environmental issues, but I don’t think we’re typical of the rest of the population.”
She’s right, I know. That’s what happens at a specialized college like Little Green. I’m sad to watch some of my favourite students graduate and leave our small campus, but it’s exciting to know that their energy and enthusiasm and brilliant ideas will now be unleashed outside that bubble, infecting the world beyond our classroom walls.