August 30, 2013

And another semester begins

Foggy morning

It seemed appropriate that my drive to campus today was through a thick fog. The windshield wipers kept brushing wet drops off the windshield while I strained to see what might be in front of me: a tree, a mailbox, the tail lights of another car.

The first week of classes tends to be a blur of activity, with so many things happening that I can barely see what’s right in front of me. I’m trying to memorize the names of more than 80 students, scrambling to make sure my syllabi and class blogs have all the right information on them, and dealing with the hundreds of emails that I ignored while I was busy camping or kayaking or attending weddings.

Figuring out how to share cars and juggle schedules has meant multiple phone calls every evening. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter needs to be on campus bright and early every day. She lives in the next town with her boyfriend Sailor Boy and her brother Boy-in-Black, who also go to campus every day, but usually much later in the day. My son Shaggy Hair Boy and his girlfriend Smiley Girl live within walking distance of campus, but Shaggy Hair Boy will be teaching in a city school so he’ll need a car. The added complication this semester is that my youngest son With-a-Why is in college now, so he needs to go to campus every day as well.

Snowstorm University doesn't have enough parking for all of its students, and that's what makes juggling all of this so difficult. My car has a parking sticker for certain parking lots, my kids' car has a parking sticker for a specific parking garage near campus, and the third car we share needs to be parked on the street, although those spaces fill up fast. If you approach campus anytime after 9 am, you can spend hours circling the streets looking for parking, unless you're Boy-in-Black, who is willing to park illegally and worry later about what tickets he might get.

With-a-Why has a crazy busy schedule because he wants to do the full music program in addition to majoring in either math or physics, and he’ll get rides with whoever is going to campus the earliest in the morning or leaving the latest in the evening. This week, With-a-Why slept at the Castle on Sunday night so that he could get a ride with his sister on Monday morning, slept here on Monday night so that he could get a ride with me on Tuesday morning, and then slept at Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl’s apartment Tuesday night so he could walk to campus the next day. This nomadic life would suit him fine except for one thing: he's a music major and some of his homework has to be done on a piano, which means he needs to be here.

In a few weeks, we'll have this all figured out. In the meantime, we're using all the skills we learned doing brainteasers. If we've got to get a chicken, a fox, and some corn across a river, and we can only take two at a time, and we can't leave the fox with the chicken or the chicken with the corn, which do we put in the canoe first?


Zhoen said...

Juggling lives and cars, still better than chainsaws.

Elaine said...

Don't forget, the music building should have practice rooms, which should have pianos! :o)

Jennifer said...

Does anyone have a bicycle, and are distances within cycle commuting? Would alleviate, the parking issues (at least until it snows.) Paneers or baskets on a bike make carrying books & computer & the like easier (much easier than the weight of a backpack while riding), and are easy to install. If it's a sweaty ride, the university may have a convenient shower, or conversely, it may be possible to put the bike on a car (or a bus, if that works in your area) and ride home...

jo(e) said...

Elaine: That's true. Soon he'll get a key to a practice room, and then he can practice when he's on campus.

Jennifer: Shaggy Hair and Smiley Girl have bikes. But the rest of us aren't really within biking distance.