The rhythm of the semester

Classes ended on Tuesday, and now we're entering exam week. Pretty soon it will be commencement and the whole thing is over (for me) until September.

After so many years of unstructured grad school, it's quite strange to be tied to that roller-coaster rhythm of the semester. I feel like an undergrad again. The first few weeks are fresh and exciting, then there's a settling in to the routine, then the realization that the mid-term is approaching fast. After that, the stress level rises as we notice that we have N weeks left to squeeze in K projects, quizzes, or assignments. Then the last two weeks we just can't wait for it to be over.

When I was an undergrad, it probably never occurred to me that my professors might be feeling the same kind of pressure I did. After all, aren't profs the providers of stress, for which students are the recipients?

This is nothing like grad school. There is stress in grad school, of course, but it's not on a schedule quite like this. You know what I'm talking about if you've been a Ph.D. candidate or post-doc who emerges from his/her office in mid-afternoon seeking coffee, notices that campus is maybe a little quieter than usual, but doesn't realize that it's spring break until it happens three days in a row! You are clearly not on the rhythm of the semester.

©20022015 Christopher League