Sometimes I may take for granted how wonderful working on a college campus is, but today was one of those days that brought it back in focus.
I arrived on campus about an hour before my first class, and picked up free copies of the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer in our cafeteria (we also have the Wall Street Journal delivered to us for free), on route to my office.
I spent a few minutes finalizing my class prep, and then it was time to go into prof mode. I had an 8:30 and a 9:30 class, and despite the early hour (for the students), no one fell asleep. (That’s how I gauge whether or not the class went OK.) However, I did notice that a couple of students across the room from each other seemed to be texting each other. I always get a little paranoid when I see that happening – are they making fun of something I said or something I’m wearing? is my zipper down? do I have remnants of my green smoothie on my lips and teeth?
Anyway, the classes were soon over, and then it was time for office hours. No one stopped by, so I was able to use the time to work on some of my Calculus homework, and then at 11:30 it was off to Calc class on the other side of campus. The walk makes for a nice transition from being a teacher to being a student. Today we talked about disks and washers and cylindrical shells. Visualizing this stuff is kind of hard for me, but thankfully the teacher is outstanding, and makes it a bit easier.
After Calc, I went back to my office and handled some admin and course prep stuff, then did my Calc homework so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it over the weekend. I then went home for lunch, and after a few minutes of hanging with the family, I headed back to campus to watch a men’s and women’s swim meet – Nova vs. Penn State. A few of my students are on the swim team, and it’s nice to see them in a different environment. It also brings back good memories of my time as a swimmer.
After the meet, I went home and picked up my wife and son, and we headed out for pizza. Unfortunately, we got to the pizza place (Snap Custom Pizza) just after the Nova women’s softball team arrived, and that, along with the typical Friday night pizza crowd, created quite a line. That’s one of the downsides of living close to campus, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not even a blip on the screen. It was well worth the wait though, as the pizza was quite yummy.
From there we headed back to campus one last time to watch the women’s basketball game. One of my students is a member of the team, which makes me feel a closer connection to the game. It was a tough game against Creighton, and it came down to a missed three pointer at the buzzer and we lost by three points.
It was while we were walking back to our car that it hit me how great it is to be around a college campus and its students (and it was also at that moment that I thought about turning the whole experience into a blog post…).
So to recap:
- free newspapers
- great students who don’t fall asleep in class (at least not today)
- great teachers who can explain the difference between a washer and a shell
- lots of pizza places close to campus
- swim meets
- basketball games
So thank you to everyone – family, friends, teachers, and students – who made such a day possible.
Academia – it’s a wonderful life…