Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spring Term

It always strikes me as funny that the spring term begins in early January, often with snow on the ground. We used to be on a quarter system, which meant we'd be starting our more aptly named winter quarter this week, but we switched to semesters a few years back. Which means we have a fall term (starting quite sensibly in September), a winter break (a few all-too-short weeks barely stretching over the holidays), a spring term, which starts tomorrow, and two short-but-intense summer sessions. (Summer 1 starts at the beginning of May, though, so that doesn't really make sense, either.)

This year, the winter break didn't even stretch far enough to include Orthodox Christmas, which we celebrate, and which occurs on Jan. 7. My first class is on Tuesday--I'm on a Tuesday/Friday schedule again this term, hooray--so the plan is for me to drive from NJ to MA tomorrow, teach on Tuesday, and head back down for Christmas Eve festivities after classes. G will stay here--no sense in both of us missing all the fun.

Of course, we'll have to be back in Boston on Thursday, so it will be a short trip, but certainly better than not coming back down.

I'm looking forward to my classes this term--two upper-class writing courses, and one first-year. I didn't have any first-years this fall, and I missed them--there's more notable progress with the upper classmen, since what I want them to accomplish is on a lot of levels more measurable. But first-year students--especially in the fall--have a sort of bright-and-shiny joy to them which is lovely. They love being in college--the freedom, the new experiences, the chance to reinvent themselves--and it shows. And their enthusiasm for classes* is catching.

The upper-class courses should be good, too--I had three sections in the fall, which was too much. But two sections should be fine--enough to keep my on my toes, but not so much I run out of steam before the end of the day. Since the first-year class and the upper-level class require totally different kinds of energy, I find that the change in pace is enough to make the day less tiring.**

And I have a new knitting project to look forward to--I cast on for the Cambridge Jacket for G on Dec. 28. In a feverish burst of knitting, I've already finished the back, the left front, and about a quarter of the right front. (Saying this will probably doom me to sleeve-island hell, but I'll take my chances.) I want to finish the knitting by 12/15, so I can block the pieces, seam them, and have at least a week to deal with putting in the zipper. The whole thing needs to be done by Jan. 31, which is when G leaves for the next leg of his research trip. I want to send him off (this time to Kiev) wrapped in a new sweater!

*Granted, not all freshmen are enthusiastic. And not all freshmen want to be in college. But I got super-lucky last spring, and had an amazing bunch; I'm being optimistic about this new group.
**Maybe not less tired, but at least a different kind of tired--I'm not nearly as walleyed with fatigue at the end of it.

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