It's advising week, which shouldn't faze me (because I'm on a one-year contract), but actually does--because anyone who teaches a Foundation Seminar is automatically assigned those students as advisees. So every year that I've taught my "Poetry, Identity, Community" course, I've gained a small band of advisees-- who almost immediately need to be handed over to someone else (because I've been, at best, on a one-year contract).
One might imagine that I know nothing--and care less--about advising my temporary charges. But I love these sessions: we talk about course options and curriculum requirements, yes, but also about how they're doing: in their other classes, in the dorms, in central Pennsylvania as compared to New York or Pittsburgh or California. And though it's understandable that some students have a bit of anxiety over which courses to take (Will this be a waste of time? Is this the wrong thing to do?), and though our particular university is pretty strict about scooting folks out on schedule (no lazy semesters of sampling electives), I'm always struck by the truly vast expanse of time that lies before them. So many possibilities wait ahead. (Of course, I keep this sentiment to myself: no eighteen-year-old wants an old guy urging "Relax, relax, you've got your whole life ahead of you.")
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Just found an e-mail from Rachel Newcomb, who was a fellow "June Poet" back in 1994 and is now an assistant professor of anthropology! Rachel has new fiction forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly. I owe her an e-mail, but I have poems to grade and a meeting to dash off to. Soon. Soon. It's wonderful to hear from folks this way: I remember Rachel well. (And no, I'm not gonna tell any stories on her.)
Alec Hershman: The Egg Goes Under
1 week ago