Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shiny New Year

Yesterday, I went in to get my allergy shot at University Health Services. The nurse and I were commiserating about the approaching First Day of the Semester. Suddenly undergrads are going to be everywhere. The first couple of weeks of the Fall semester are the worst: every single first year student seems to decide to spend the entire day wandering the university, every single day. They're constantly on campus. And there are Fun Activities and Campus Groups tables and vendors everywhere. Things really don't quiet down until the first midterms roll around, when suddenly the undergrads all discover that they're supposed to be studying.

The nurse warned me, "Remember to give yourself extra time for your allergy shot next week. Last year, we went from thirty patients a day to ninety patients a day on the first day of school."

When you're a hermit who loves the quiet of the campus in the summertime (just you, a few other comps-reading or MA-thesis-writing grad students, a few taking summer classes, and the ESL Summer Students), the madness of the first week of school is daunting. (Not to mention the fact that my day will soon be broken up with TA activities, and I'll be competing for office space again.)

But then...

I awoke this morning to the sound of Chris, madly rushing around and finding all the teaching resources that have been squirreled away in our apartment for the past two years. All his fun toys he's been collecting, and his crazy books on science experiments. Books and boxes and equipment, all being unearthed from obscurity in closets and storage rooms, and given a rightful home in a classroom. It was so exciting that I got to work as well, finding books that he could use when he teaches Grade 10 Social Studies for the first time. Students are arriving on Tuesday! Chris is a teacher!

Maybe I need to learn a bit from my husband and from jo(e) and get excited about the new school year a little more. (Maybe I also should learn not to sigh when I admit that I'm a "third year PhD candidate." "Third-year" sounds like I ought to have made more progress than I have.)

3 comments:

Anastasia said...

pfft third year, you're just a baby.

trillwing said...

Yes, the undergraduates are returning to my town, too. It's always a bit depressing. Despite the heat, I like this town best during the summer because it empties out quite a bit.

And besides, when you toss first-year students who haven't ridden bicycles much for eight years into a mix of, oh, 30,000+ bicycles, uncontrolled intersections, and bike paths with traffic circles, there are bound to be accidents. I can't tell you how many times I've narrowly avoided collisons during those first couple weeks. . .

Kate said...

I feel the pain of returning grad students too. It's not that I don't get excited about it all -- I do. I love the special energy of the start of the school year, all those new outfits and binders and backpacks being toted around by impossibly young children!

On the other hand, the increased traffic on the roads and paths and hallways, in the gym and the library and the coffee shop, makes me quell. I like to quiet of the campus in summer, when I don't have too wait for an elliptical trainer or a refill on my prescriptions.

Either way, the tide of time stops for no one. September, for better and for worse, is upon us....