Finally . . . Today the students show up. It was great to have all the faculty around last week. Finally, the hallways were filled with voices. My colleagues are fantastic people, and it’s been great seeing all of them, doing some work with some of them, and generally catching up. But now I’m ready for the students to arrive. It’s always so fun to see their excitement at seeing each other. They’re excited to be starting afresh again, ready to make new friends, and maybe try something new.
There’s just something wonderful about that much youthful exuberance all at once. It makes me feel young and ready to take on the world . . . at least for a while. That feeling comes back over and over again as I work with my students. I’ve been teaching in one way or another for over 25 years and those 25 years are filled with some great moments. Those moments are what keep me going year after year. They’re what I look forward to each year. Moments like sitting in the student lounge, helping a student work out a programming problem. Or driving a group of students to Haverford for a “prom-posal” because a car broke down. It’s cheering with the robotics team and sitting down with a student who failed a test with a box of Kleenex® and extra support. It’s running around to every teacher that has my advisee to ask for a little forgiveness and extra time. It’s getting blown away every time by some of the work my students do.
I don’t know what this year will bring, but I know I’ll have more of those moments, moments I get to participate in my students’ lives and just be there for them, in whatever way I can.