Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Interregnum

Don’t tell anyone...

The brief gap between graduation and the start of summer classes is blissfully quiet.

I can actually get some work done. I can even have open-ended conversations without looking at my watch every ten minutes. (Yes, Gen Y readers, I wear a watch. It’s a generational thing. Boomers wear digital watches. X’ers wear analog watches. Y’s just use their phones.)

These respites are fewer and shorter than they once were. There was a time, not too long ago, when summer classes were mostly afterthoughts. They still aren’t as popular as the regular semesters, but they have momentum. That’s mostly to the good; the literature I’ve seen on low-income student success suggests that continuity of study over the course of the year tends to lead to better results, since students can get into a groove and stay there. And I’m a huge fan of students who need developmental classes getting them during the summer so they can hit September on-track to graduate.

But there’s also something to be said for a moment of relative peace and quiet.

Earlier this week I had a glorious morning without a single meeting. I was able to spend consecutive hours -- plural! -- actually thinking about one project. By myself! As a parent of young children, that’s pretty much out of the question at home, and at an active campus it’s pretty much unheard-of at work. But this week, it actually happened. And it brought a clarity that wasn’t going to happen any other way.

But don’t tell anyone! If people find out how productive a quiet campus can be, they’ll start swarming in, and it won’t be quiet anymore.

It’ll just be our secret...