Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils

Last night, I tried to write a post about coming to terms with the end of summer. I entitled it "Summer Gone" (referencing David Macfarlane's melancholy novel that takes place over several Labour Day weekends), and wrote about how it was the last night before Chris went back to teaching, about how I had to shut the windows because of all the rain, and return to wearing socks.

I ended up deleting the post because writing it made me feel more melancholy than I already was. I was tired (having just cleaned the whole house in anticipation of the busyness of Chris's first week of school), and wasn't forming words clearly.

But then this morning I sent Chris off to his first day of school, said goodbye to Ky as she left for her conference in London, and took the bus to the university. I'd been hoping that, seeing as it was the last day before classes began, it would be a little less crazy on campus today than it will be tomorrow. I somehow forgot about orientation, and the president's barbeque, and the hoards of first-year students who don't yet know that they don't need to spend every waking hour on campus. I walked by hundreds (possibly thousands) of students, lined up all the way across the campus green, behind two small tables of free hotdogs and hamburgers. I ran into several friends, including one who just moved here from Saskatchewan to get her MA here. I met people from my department as they milled around smiling and wearing brightly-coloured name tags.

I went to the department office and received a copy of the brand new journal that our grad students put together. I went to Health Services and joke with my nurse about the crazy first-year kids that have filled the campus today, questioning whether the free hamburger was ever worth a more-than-an-hour wait in a line.

And I got a ton of work accomplished. Even though the school calendar doesn't have any effect on my work schedule,* there's something about the cooler air and the bustling crowds that inspires me to make real progress and to cross even the intimidating parts off of my to-do list.

As I bussed home, I found myself smiling. I was actually looking forward to my necessary trip back to campus on Thursday.

* I sometimes have little patience for the "When are you starting again in the fall?" line of questioning I continually get. Because you must be taking classes if you're going to school, right? (I mostly get these questions from the same people, over and over.)


C said...

"when are you starting school again?" is waaaaaayyyy better than "and what are you up to these days?" when you are not up to anything. happy first week of school to chris!

LynnieC said...

I want to hug Tom Hanks now. Is that a weird reaction to your post?

Queen of West Procrastination said...

C: Yeah, that sort of questioning is up there with "So, what are your plans?" back when I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation (both high school and undergrad).

LynnieC: I was hoping that you'd get the reference.