I turned in my last final today, a little late because I had sorely underestimated how much more work it still needed. A quick vet for clarity had turned into a partial rewrite. I raced to the college and across the lawns and landscaping to good old Zageir, home of the Poli Sci People.
“Can I turn in my exam seven minutes late?” I asked Dr. Sabo, who was hanging out in his office with a student.
“I won’t look at my watch!” he said. He thanked me as I walked away.
While the horrid stereotype of the hyperliberal blowhard in love with his/her own opinions and intellectual prowess is alive and well in higher education, that kind of professor is the minority. I find that the vast majority of college professors (at least the ones I encounter as someone who is picky about her professors) are intelligent and helpful people driven by a desire to impart information they find exciting, powerful and useful. The best teachers combine helpfulness and nerdiness *, two of the qualities I cherish and admiore most in the world.
* which I define as the quality of taking deep pleasure in working towards expertise in an academic area; the technical cousin is geekiness
I walked back to my car under the hot springtime sun, through the grass and past the brilliant orange of the flame azaleas and over the dusty drifts of oak pollen. As I started up the hill to the commuter parking lot, it hit me.
“Oh my god. I’m done,” I said.
Then I kept walking on into my day.
The lovely feeling of finishing is a bit diminished when you come right off of finals into work and a week-long technical project. I’m hoping it’s really just delayed, and sometime next week I will realize that this semester is done and gone, done and gone. No more lectures, papers, tests or quizzes for at least a month, more if I skip summer school.
Back to work. Someone please pass the peace of mind and feelings of significant intellectual accomplishment.