Monday, May 10, 2010

Serendipity 5. Say Good by and Thanks (for all the New Things)

For me, the first half of May is always bittersweet. Winter is finally over and everything is in bloom (though someone forgot to give Mother Nature the memo this year. Snow on May 9 is not amusing; it's simply wrong). Classes end, and academics everywhere breath a sigh of relief. But the bitter part is saying good by to students that have come to be friends over the past four years as they go off to hopefully put to practice what they've learned.

Tonight a few of our great political science graduates and one-year out alumni joined a few of their faculty for a drink or two and a bite to eat. I insisted in the spirit of New Things that we had to drink at a bar I'd never been to, so we tried What Ales You, and when it wasn't open, wound up at the Three Needs. When we were seated at the table I realized that every single one of the students sitting there had been involved in at least one thing on my list. And so, I wanted to write a short post to say good by and thank you, for being great people inside the class and equally great teachers and fellow learners outside of it. Arranged around the table in the group picture are: me; my colleague Mike; Sarah (who went rock climbing at Petra with our SMC student group); Ryan (who also did rock climbing as well as the winter snow shoe up Camel's Hump); my colleague Bill; Nigel (who taught me to change a bike tire and cross country ski skate, as well as joining our rock climbing group); Madison (who did the midnight tour of the Washington monument and provided my Luganda language post); Drisk (who graduated last year, and gave me my downhill skiing lesson); and Dan (who graduated last year, and who went to New York City with me so I could skate at Rockefeller Center and learned how to make mozarella cheese with me).

Although I'm sad for the good-bys, I have faith that there are many more New Things in store for the people sitting at the table, individually and collectively. Nigel, for instance, is on the hook to teach me one more thing (basic emergency car stuff) before he leaves town. I know I'll be in touch with Dan and Drisk because they'll still be here for at least the summer and there is some biking and hiking on the list to be done. And Ryan is headed to my alma mater, Brandeis, for the political science PhD program in the fall. But whether we do more things together or not, it was a great thing to look around the table and see some of the people that I've talked to about ideas in the classroom and learned new things with (and from) outside of it. I'm grateful for both sets of experiences, and as they set off for new adventures, wanted to express my gratitude to them all, and to the other graduating seniors and alumni who have taught me so much, especially in this year of new things. Thank you.


  1. What a lovely post! It sounds like the feeling that many academics have come you note, a sigh of relief that the year is over, but great sadness and joy as some of our wonderful students commence with the next part of their lives.