I'm writing this note from my old office at the university, with Christmas music playing in the background. Above me on the filing cabinet towers a stack of exams and papers from my literature class, all graded; and in front of me, on yet another filing cabinet, sit two huge stacks of graded Expository Writing papers. All that remains for me here at the University is to submit the official grades, clean off my desk, and turn in the keys.
Knowing my own taste in deep, philosophical thinking, I realize how easily this post could become maudlin, a melodramatic reflection on 2 1/2 years spent in the zoo that is a college town, years that swung wildly between frustration with my work and satisfaction in my work. And so, I refuse to muse on for eight paragraphs on the ebb and flow of life (plus, I have no idea whatsoever how I could possibly fill all those paragraphs on such a nebulous topic; not even English majors can write on forever). As I say goodbye to students and old friends here, and prepare to meet new students and new friends halfway around the world, I only want to celebrate New Year's a tad early: a celebration that reflects on the good my time here has brought me, and looks forward to the blessings to come.
As I left Bob Jones, there were certain things that I missed most of all: the literature classes that ended with more than 100 pages of computer-typed notes, speaking in German with friends there, the stunning Shakespeare performances (one of the only times I've truly enjoyed Shakespeare). Here too, there are things that I will miss, remembered now as
snippets of stories.
A professor last semester taught Hegel and Kant with illustrations of algae, ducks and lasagna, and another (my very first year in graduate school) patiently allowed her first-year students to queue up outside her door, long lines snaking down the hallways, while she critiqued our papers before we turned them in.
A student this semester asked for help regularly on her papers, and in exchange, gave me random biology facts (antibacterial soap is actually bad for us humans, since it teaches bacteria to resist our medicines), and another student e-mailed me his personal interpretation of "The Most Dangerous Game", one that was unique, creative - and correct.
A group of friends, who spirited me away to the self-serve frozen yogurt place (Orange Leaf, which was delicious) as a treat and loaned me the Percy Jackson series for some serious light reading this semester. Also, my friends listened to (perhaps 'put up with' would be a better word choice) my chatter about Orson Scott Card.
All of these stories (and more!) I will remember from my time here at the University, which is swiftly (almost too swiftly) coming to an end. But, as T.S. Eliot points out,