Ok, this is mostly personal, but I have to say it somewhere…
You might have noticed a lull in my productivity recently. In previous years, the entire month of April has been scorched earth, double-plus-ungood badness, so this year has been better than most. But still. (after the jump)
And then, today, three things. One–a student from last semester (and from previous classes) returns a book. I had forgotten about it, which I always do, but the book is not the important bit. She’s just about to leave, and says “I also want to thank you for being the highlight of my college years. By far.” Aw… and this was a barometer student–the kind you look to to see if you have adequately covered the topic. The kind whose eyebrow will lift if you have not dotted every I and crossed every T. The kind you think will never just accept your word for something. The kind that really and truly, skeptically, thinks.
You don’t always hear those words. Even more rarely do you hear them from the one who you were really trying to reach. Damn.
Two–another student, from three different classes. ROTC, and one of the rare students utterly unafraid to be wrong, or to be open, or to be challenged. This guy added sooooo much to the classes he was in, by asking wonderful questions without embarrassment, by offering himself up in examples few other students could have matched, by basically throwing himself headlong into his classes as he does the rest of his life. He stopped by today to invite me to his commissioning ceremony. I don’t have time for things like this. But, yeah, I am going to be there; he’s earned it.
Three–my all time favorite student. Bar none. We’re not supposed to have favorites, I suspect, but that’s a bit like saying we’re not supposed to have mitochondria–we do; get over it. This one started her cuttlefishology major in my class, and then took enough other classes from me that she literally could have declared a minor in Cuttlefish. Graduated, went out into the world, did good work… years later, came back to grad school… and by damn, asked me to be on her dissertation committee. What I am feeling right now is the academic equivalent of being a proud parent (don’t get me started on how proud I am of the Cuttlekids recently). At this precise moment, I would do this job for free.
Which is another reason to write under a pseudonym; Cuttlefish U. would take me up on that. And tomorrow morning, I will be back to being the cephalopod who still has tuition bills to pay, and not nearly the income to cover them.
Today was a very good day. I am a happy cuttlefish.
We rarely are in the position to see the impact of what we have done. So many potential causes exist–how can we know it was this class rather than any of a dozen others, or this conversation, or this argument? But sometimes we really and truly change the world. And sometimes, rarely, the world lets us know.