Tap, tap, tap...

One of my earliest memories is standing in the driveway outside my childhood home pondering the oddity of time: how it just moved in the one direction and how arbitrarily we measure it.  Of course I didn't put it in  those terms back then.  I was simply tapping a stick on the concrete and thinking how each moment between taps had happened and now was gone.  Days were a special concern to my five-year old mind.  I wondered what it was like for a day to wait billions of years to come into being, and then be one that wasn't particularly memorable.  How disappointing. 

I'm still struck by the arbitrary ways we mark time.  I read recently about an ancient South American Indian society that had three separate calenders, including one based upon the position of the planet Venus.  That sounds odd until you recall that our own society has multiple markers of time.  We have one cycle that repeats every seven days, another tied to a solar orbit that repeats every 365 days and is quadrennially adjusted. Then, just to be interesting, we have a base ten system that counts off units of ten, one hundred and one thousand.  Oh, and this time framework arbitrarily starts running backward about 2000 years ago.  See what I mean?  All systems for marking time are weird.

And then there is the academic calender with its semester starts and stops.  I finish my twenty-first academic year next week.  That's forty-two semesters, six-hundred seventy-two weeks, and a lot of fifty minute periods.  Here's how my semester will end.  I will stow my cap and gown in the backseat and drive away from a convention center on either a stormy or idiotically beautiful Saturday in late April.  I will come home.

Done, another year.   I have measured out my life in syllabi. 

So it's time to take stock.  What is there to say for this semester?  The senior capstone seminar went well despite that I taught in a cavernous lecture hall.  The Liberal Arts once again cheated death and survived my annual prosecution of them by a vote of 18-3.  The students in the seminar were a lot of fun .   I struggled, however, in my Humanities course, which had a rather frightening attrition rate.  I lost about five students.  They just vanished.  And the first-year honors seminar was one of the more unusual combinations of personalities and abilities.  Still, there was growth and development.    All in all, a mixed bag of a semester.

Well, so long Spring 2012.  Hope I haven't left something important in you.   Tap, tap tap...

Comments

frida said…
noooo! you must continue! some of us are on the quarter system and can't survive without the occasional dose of my fall semester!!!
Professor Quest said…
Thanks, Frida. I'm not done blogging. I just slow down once the semester is over.

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