Thursday, September 07, 2006

School's in!

The first week of school is always a mess – meetings, chance encounters and the obligatory “my summer vacation” anecdotes, dodging undergrads as they stop en mass mid-sidewalk. It always makes me feel like I've gone soft over the summer, for now accomplishing more than two tasks in a day wipes me out. I need to rebuild my social stamina and coffee tolerance. It smells like fall, dusk descends more quickly, I have readings on my list of things to do… school’s definitely back. All intimations of complaint aside, campus’ air of enthusiasm is infectious. It’s far too easy when I'm staring at a stack of books and a computer screen day after day to forget why I'm here, why I'm doing this. The fame of a bestselling dissertation-turned-book? Maybe that’s a tiny and naively optimistic part of it, but those picturesque and deeply connotative ivy covered buildings make me remember how much I believe in and love encouraging students to pay critical attention to the popular culture that surrounds us (experience the magic for yourself later this month). There’s nothing quite like teaching, especially at McGill. Perhaps this too is the ivy speaking, but there’s a qualitative difference between the undergrads here and ones I've taught elsewhere that makes walking into a classroom a challenge – the rush at realizing just how sharp they are, the exhilaration of being constantly on your intellectual toes, the way they can make you revisit the way you’ve presented something. Bring it on, semester. Just let me grab a coffee first…


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