January 16, 2014

And the semester begins

I rode into work with my son With-a-Why, who goes to Snowstorm University, right next door to Little Green, where I work. The roads near my house were icy, but the microclimate gets warmer as you get near the city, so by the time we were halfway there, the driving was fine. With-a-Why is majoring in music, so he sings on the drive, sometimes bits of songs, often just the scales, warming up for his early morning class.

The campus was still quiet when we arrived. My office is in the college library, and the young woman at the circulation desk said hello as I came in. When I walked over to the cafe, my friend Scientist Guy was already at his table, with a cup of coffee and breakfast. I joined him with my usual breakfast — a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and some apple juice. I don't need caffeine: our morning conversations usually wake me up. We were soon joined by Anthropologist Woman and several students.

Talking about winter break led to telling funny travel stories. Scientist Guy won with his story about the time he broke his elbow on the way to the premiere of Clockwork Orange, went to the movie anyhow, tried to slip out early and grab a cab, and ran into Johnny Carson, who was trying to slip out of the movie to avoid the press. Johnny Carson opened the cab door, jumped in without looking, and landed on Scientist Guy's lap.

By the time we'd finished breakfast, more students had arrived, tossing winter coats onto chairs and flinging backpacks onto the floor as they claimed seats. Some students had laptops open or papers spread out on the tables, but mostly, they were all happily talking and eating. I could feel the energy in the room rising each time a new wave of students came in.

When I got back to my office, a former student stopped in to see me. She's 28 now, but still comes back to visit. She arrived just as I was trying to tame the chaotic mess of papers on my desk. "I'm trying to get organized," I said. "So the students won't think I'm too flaky on the first day." "Oh, they'll figure it out," she said. "You ARE flaky and kinda crazy. But your overall awesomeness overrides that."

In the fall, the first day of class means meeting first year students who have just arrived. In the spring, my classes are mostly filled with students I've had before, so it's more like a family reunion. I'd brought xeroxed poems and discussion questions, and in every class, we jumped right in. By the end of the afternoon, I was tired but invigorated, and impressed by the smart things my students had said. It's going to be a good semester.

1 comment:

Suse said...

Nice to get a glimpse of your life!