The fall semester at NDSU started this past week and it reminded me of how much I love to see bright, shiny faces at the start of a new academic year. My classes typically have a blend of former and new students, but after a summer away even the students who have had me before seem like they are seeing me afresh. It is a funny dance that goes on the first few weeks of classes – them getting to know me, me getting to know them, and them getting to know each other.
They are pensive in the beginning, not all too sure what to make of me or what I am saying. Some may hesitantly laugh at my jokes, be it genuine or as a homage to how pitiful they are, but the majority of them just look at me intently as if they are trying to identify my species. I wonder what students who spend their first class session with me say to their friends afterwards. I imagine comments such as “crazy”, “odd”, and “laughs at her own jokes” are bandied about quite liberally.
But after a few weeks they settle in and we all start to laugh together and find areas of commonality. By semester’s end, we will be one very interesting family with three and a half months worth of stories about our interactions. Then we start the process all over again in a new semester with some of them that were with me this semester and some that are new. This is the circle of life in my ecosystem…it is an exciting and magical thing. I won’t worry now about the time when they will fly away to new adventures. For now I will just engage with them in this beginning of the semester dance and relish it for what it is – a sometimes awkward, but fun, lesson in getting to know your dance partners. 😉
Day one thousand five hundred and seventeen of the new forty – obla di obla da