The school year is winding down – which means that everything reaches a fever pitch. The end of a semester never arrives peacefully and the end of each spring semester seems to carry the most excitement of all as students and faculty daydream about the long, lazy days of summer. Yet there is still so much to do at this point in the game. Faculty are busy getting the final assignments of the semester into students’ hands and trying to catch up on grading that got away from them; and, students are wrapping up group projects and handing in papers as they try and schedule their last few weeks of course requirements to end as early in finals week as possible (the notion is that every extra day of summer is a good day).
It is about this time – inside the less than four weeks left of school mark – that I start to get melancholy as I realize soon I will spend an entire summer without my students. I must say, as worn down as I may get during any given semester I do miss not seeing them for three whole months. Seeing them each week for 16 weeks in a row keeps me jumping and I do believe it helps keep me young.
Perhaps that seems counter-intuitive to folks – I surmise it makes sense that faculty would rest more over the summer and hence be more refreshed. I have to say though – my interaction with the students charges my batteries. They are my youth serum - at least for my heart and mind. I may be acquiring more lines on my face each semester but they are smile and laugh lines to be sure.
I do enjoy the quiet of long summer days; but I believe I slow down and age a bit without the weekly interaction with the students. I surmise I will ultimately struggle with retirement when it comes around - not sure what I will do without a classroom full of students to interact with – besides age, that is. Luckily, I have quite a few more years before I have to face the reality of an endless summer.
So the end of the semester melancholy is settling in and soon another whole flock of my students will graduate and fly the coop (which always compounds my weepiness) – my student interaction will be on summer hiatus. But August always seems to roll around more quickly than I anticipated in May and I learn to enjoy a less frenzied existence over the months that I am away from the campus – and life as I know it always returns in full-force with the beginning of the fall semester.
So if you ever wonder why I look younger during the fall and spring semesters now you know…I visit the fountain of youth weekly. I live such a charmed life.
Day one thousand and fourteen of the new forty – obla di obla da