With less than three weeks before classes finish, the end is in sight. I love the end of the school year. Not just because I am tired, but because there are a lot of exciting things that happen. These are just a few of my favourite things:
1. The day my fourth year students hand in their final thesis. Although most of the time they look like they haven’t slept in two days, it is a day of happy sighs. I love watching my students grow and do things that they probably didn’t think that they could ever do. Doing research and writing a thesis is a BIG deal. I can say from my own experiences, handing that pile of paper in is a liberating and a huge accomplishment. Confetti canons?? I think we should totally invest in those….and require a touch down style dance.
2. The day when spring finally shows up, even if it is in the middle of the exam period. Although this year has been atrociously cold, I know there will be at least one day of actual spring weather during the exam period. I love walking outside and seeing games of frisbee happening, and well intentioned students “studying” outside. We all need a break sometime and spring has to happen some time soon.
3. The last exam of the semester. It always seems that my courses all have their exams slotted at the end of the exam period. I promise, I have nothing to do with this….professors actually have zero say in when these exams are. But when that last exam is done, as the students are handing in their booklets I like to share a smile that says “You did it, you are done and I am so proud of you.” I have had a few post exam high fives, and even a hug here and there, it’s pretty great.
4. Fourth year students Research/Poster Day. Like the thesis day, but a little more celebratory, the students dress up and proudly hang up their research posters. We really become the nerds that we are and walk around listening to each student present their research. I like to watch the thesis students talk to younger students who have come for some advice to see what labs they should apply to.
5. The last day of class. This is purely for me. I know that this is maybe not the most exciting part of the year for students since exams are looming. But after almost 80 hours of lecturing, 1000s of emails, hours on my laptop making notes, power points, exams questions, etc. I am tired and I am glad I don’t have to formulate intelligent sentences until the next teaching semester.
6. Convocation. The best ending of the year. Meeting parents of students that I have taught for sometimes 3 years, the happy faces, the pomp and circumstance is so much fun. Unfortunately, I will probably miss most of convocation this year since I will likely have a 3 week old baby at that time. I hope to at least pop into campus to catch some of the faces of the people who have to some degree, become my kids too.