Monday, September 04, 2006

The Beginning of School

It is Labour Day today - the end of a beautiful Labour Day long weekend. I spent most of today in my office. There were a number of professors here - putting final touches on their syllabi, getting ready for tomorrow's lectures or doing what I was doing - working at research projects. I have a deadline of Sept. 15 and the pressure is on.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes here. For the last 54 years - except for the year I worked for CN, and my three sabbatical years - I have begun school in one form or another - either as a student or a teacher and for some years both at the same time. I have viewed this time as the beginning of the year. There hasn't been a year when I haven't been excited for the beginning of school. Even though I don't teach tomorrow I am still looking forward to the day.

The halls will be filled with the bewildered and the experienced - both professors and students. There will be people wandering the halls looking for their classes and invariably some of them will be in the wrong building. There will be lineups for coffee and lunch in the food areas and the calm unhurried pace of summer classes will be replaced with crowds and noise.

Today, theoretically, the university was closed. But there were many people looking to orient themselves. The occasional single student or a with parents in tow - but typically there would be two of them - checking our room numbers - walking around different buildings trying to figure out the most direct routes. My guess is that many of the students I saw today are in residence.

I remember doing exactly the same thing with my children when I took them to university for the first time. My older kids went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and my youngest child went to Concordia in Montreal. I insisted that we find the buildings and the rooms - at least I felt better making the walk from their living quarters to their classrooms.

It is the beginning of 'school' - I rarely say I am going to work. There is something about school that is attractive - especially the first day of school. It is the beginning of something new, of new learning, of new experiences, of new people, new ideas. It is a fresh start - no matter what happened last year this year can always be better. [When I read that I realize I sound like both a Roughrider fan and a farmer - must be the years of living in Saskatchewan - there is always next year :) ]

Tomorrow I will work on the same projects I have been working on all summer. I will teach courses I have taught before. I will continue to work with the same colleagues. But it will still be a special day. The first day of school.


Blogger Jeanette Jobson said...

54 years in school...guess there's no hope you'll graduate anytime soon, huh? :o)

6:37 PM  
Blogger Lace said...

I like the hope. This year's Labour Day really is classic - the Riders even won. Saskatchewan makes lots of things possible if you have enough patience to wait with/out rain. L:)

10:25 PM  

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