This afternoon I turned in my spring grades. With that I’ve now completed four years as an assistant professor. This also means that the graduating class were incoming freshman when I first started. While I typically don’t teach to freshman, which means I don’t often get to watch a single academic career all the way through, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great students.
This last weekend was Coastal Carolina’s commencement. For some faculty commencement seems to be a burden, but I’ve come to really enjoy attending commencement. With four years under my belt, it’s gotten to the point that at every commencement I know a reasonable number of graduating students. It’s nice to watch them cross that stage with a huge smile and to get their degrees. (Technically they don’t receive their degrees on the stage. Students have to wait a few weeks for them to arrive in the mail. It’s one last cruel joke that the administration plays on students.) It’s especially rewarding for the subset of students that I’ve built a friendship with. It can feel like watching a family member graduating. Knowing that I’ve played a (small) part in their lives feels good and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching.
To all those graduating this spring, congratulations and good luck with what adventures come your way.