Today was the last day of class for the Fall 2010 semester at Messiah College. It seems like the semester just flew by. Yet it also seems like August was ages ago. In the course of the semester the students have gone from wearing t-shirts and shorts to sweaters and mittens. I now drive home in the dark. The optimism and sense of possibility that I felt at the start of the year is largely gone. I am now, like most of my students, in survival mode–trying to make it make to the finish.
It was generally a good day. I taught the United States Constitution in my American Revolution course. I taught Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in my survey course. (Always a pleasure!). The students filled out their course evaluation forms. I tried to schedule a time for a last-minute department meeting that I called for next week. I finished a letter of recommendation for a senior history major with much promise who is applying to graduate school. I took a ten-minute power nap on my office coach. I ate a half-stale bagel.
I always come to the last day of classes with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I am glad it is all over. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and enjoying the Christmas season. I get to direct my intellectual energies to other projects. It will be nice to spend more time in my home study than in my work office. I am already putting together my reading list.
On the other hand, I often come to the end of the semester with a bit of sadness. This is because I love what I do. I will miss the conversation with students in the classroom and outside it. I will miss the daily rhythms of an academic day. As I left Boyer Hall tonight, things just seemed too quiet.
But perhaps I am jumping the gun here. Final exam week starts Monday!
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