I guess there’s no denying it, now — the semester has begun. It actually began yesterday, but as I’ve moved, this semester, from my accustomed Tuesday/Thursday afternoon teaching schedule to a bright-and-early Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning one, my only evidence, yesterday, of semester’s onset was attending convocation.
Convocation is a lovely event here, a bookend to commencement, a second annual opportunity to make the purchase of the academic regalia seem cost-efficient. This year’s was particularly momentous, as we greeted our new president, only the ninth in the college’s 116-year history. Aside from the welcomes, however, both to the president and to the class of (gulp) 2007, there was a greater-than-usual dose of back-self-patting this year: not only is the college ranked fourth among liberal-arts colleges by the eminent (when we like their results; questionable when we don’t) U.S. News and World Reports, but our students are apparently the second-happiest in the nation, according to the Princeton Review.
But I don’t know that my students are any happier than anybody else’s, at 9:00 in the morning. Nor, I fear, are their professors. This new schedule is going to take some getting used to.