Friday, May 01, 2009

Silly Season

'Tis Spring – almost finals – and you can tell on campus. The characteristic signs are there:

1.People walk much faster, and with visibly pinched expressions.

2.Student complaints about instructors are suddenly skyrocketing, and expressed with earnest urgency.

3.I've already inadvertently interrupted a few couples in the midst of, uh, expressing their couplehood, usually in stairways. What it is about stairways, I honestly don't know.

4.The rubber chicken circuit is back!

5.Lots of random sneezing, as every tree blossomed in the same 24 hours. It's getting to the point where I can identify certain people by their sneezes. They're like fingerprints.

6.Last-minute consultant visits for program reviews. Somehow, May always catches people by surprise. In my experience, it typically follows April.

7.Apocalyptic rhetoric at meetings. That usually peaks in the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas rush and between Spring Break and Finals.

8.The smokers linger longer outdoors.

9.Faculty have retreated to their offices, where they disappear under herniating piles of grading. I have occasional visions of some future archeologist finding the skeleton of an English professor surrounded by plastic-covered papers full of “could of” and “alot” and “Being that...”

10.Those last few purchases of the fiscal year always require multiple budget-line moves, each with three or four levels of approval. They're sort of like logic problems gone horribly wrong. A train with fourteen passengers leaves Chicago heading North at 60 miles per hour. How long before the passengers drown in Lake Michigan?

How does Spring play out on your campus?