Thursday, June 03, 2004
A time to reap
We're on a quarter system here at Chicago, which means we don't start until October (good) but we keep going until the beginning of June (bad). Which is to say, I have just handed out the take-home final exam for my Spacetime and Black Holes class, an undergraduate introduction to general relativity. It has been a great class, full of curious and enthusiastic students (at least two of which, Maire and Colin, have blogs; feel free to let me know if anyone else does).
Let me see, I've been alive for thirty-seven years, thirty-two of which have involved spending much of my time in an educational institution of one sort or another, from nursery school to being a professor. And still, I have to admit, I love the rhythms of the school year, from the fresh fall days when the campus comes back to life with arriving students, to the slogging twilight of the winter quarter, to the cusp of summer when another year has been successfully negotiated. Why would anyone want to leave to go to the real world? But that, of course, is the downside: so many people at any school are there just temporarily, whether it's students or postdocs or, when things don't turn out as we hope, assistant professors. Some of the UofC students at Crescat Sententia are graduating seniors, and are grumbling wistfully (sounds impossible, but it's true) about the impending end of their days here. It's equally bittersweet to be on the other side, as students who you've seen working and growing in an impossibly short time prepare to take off for their next set of challenges.
So, congratulations to all the graduating seniors, not to mention graduate students about to get their Ph.D.'s and postdocs moving on to other jobs. For the students, be sure to enjoy the ceremony, which can seem anticlimactic if you don't take time to reflect on what you've accomplished. It's a big deal.