Lately, I have been thinking about migraines. No, not the migraines we are getting more of now that we are doing Zoom meetings all day. I have been thinking about migraines because when I get them, one of the upsides of the whole experience is how, when the migraine finally passes, for a brief time normal, migraine-free existence feels so amazingly good, and I really appreciate how good I have it most days. I am feeling something similar about having to move classes online at LC. It never seemed particularly special to me before that I got to teach my classes in person. But now that I am not going to be able to be in the same room as my students anymore, I am realizing how wonderful it was. I feel like somehow, I should have savored it more.
So in a gesture of retroactive savoring (and proactive too – we’ll be back!), I’ve made a list of some of my favorite things about Lewis & Clark. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. The way the birds sing in the many, many trees
2. Seeing students blanketing the Howard steps on a sunny day, talking and laughing and acting outlandish
3. The constant availability of activities
to watch and marvel at: plays, music performances, sports events, lectures, and more
4. Passing by former students and searching my memory banks for if I know them from a French class (in which case
I greet them with “bonjour!”), or from E&D or PioLog (in which case the more appropriate greeting is in English)
5. Entering the ILC or walking down the Miller third-floor hallway and hearing many different languages being spoken
6. Walking into my class and feeling my heart lift just a little bit to see my students again and hear them say “bonjour!”
7. The way sometimes my students talk animatedly as I write the day’s agenda on the board, and sometimes they are quiet,
and I never know which it will be 8. The Festival of Scholars
9. Knocking on the door of the PioLog office (because I can never remember the code and don’t feel like fishing my phone out of my bag) and hearing the happy tumble of voices and laughter inside until someone opens the door for me, and then I see everybody scrunched up tight onto couches and chairs (no social distancing there!), smiling faces turned my way
10. Students coming to my office and confiding in me about some trouble they are having and feeling like maybe I help sometimes
11. Finishing off the last issue of the PioLog for the semester and experiencing the editors’ somewhat shocked relief at realizing their work is done
12. Going to meetings I sometimes complain about but actually almost always ending up enjoying because I love my colleagues, and have known many of them for 15+ years, and let us face it, we are growing old together
13. Meeting parents at the departmental reception for seniors and seeing their child’s faces or hearing their child’s voice patterns in theirs, and being able to say, thank you for sending your child our way
14. Clapping for the seniors as they walk through the two lines of professors at graduation and catching the eyes of the ones I know
15. Clapping when the names of any seniors I know are called out at graduation
16. Walking out of the classroom after the last student has left on the final day of the semester, and turning around to look back at the room for a few seconds and say a silent “thank you,” before I turn off the lights and leave the room.
I will sure miss these things in the coming month or two. I do already. My heart aches for our seniors who have to grieve the loss of all of their favorite things about LC just a little too soon, without ceremony, without ritual. Please come back and visit us when this all passes. We will try and find ways to help you experience your favorite things once again.