Day One

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.

3 thoughts on “Day One

  1. Historically, Georgia Tech students usually score *very* low on the “happiness” rankings. I did notice that according to the Princeton Review, Tech got low marks for instructors (no class discussion, professors make themselves scarce). No wonder my students are so eager to talk in class…

  2. I love the other categories we rank in: we’re #2 in “School Runs Like Butter” (I’m assuming that’s a good thing); we’re #14 in “Dorms Like Palaces” (ditto); and we’re #16 in “Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis” and #20 in “Students Most Nostalgic for Bill Clinton.”

    Those last two give me pause — not so much because of the result (I want to give a great big “hell, yeah,” as I ignore god with one hand and vote Democrat with the other) but because of the existence of the categories in the first place. Really — in this climate, is being nostalgic for Bill Clinton such a revealing characteristic?

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