The first week September 5, 2016Posted by mareserinitatis in career, education, engineering, work.
Tags: busy, pace, SLAC
I finished my first week teaching in my new institution, and I have to say it was very strange.
I started college at a small university, but it had twice as many graduate students as undergrads, and it was in the middle of a large metropolitan area. While the campus wasn’t huge, it was relatively busy. I finished my undergrad at a mid-size state school, but the department I was in was tiny. I had very small upper-level classes but most of my generals were in very large classes, one even having about 500 students. For my MS, I switched to one of the largest departments, which was a jolt. While my classes weren’t huge (15-20 per class in the grad program), there were a lot of people around and pace and flavor of the department was far less intimate. There were people in the building nearly 24 hours. For the PhD, I was in a very large state university in a big city but in a small department. Even so, my classes typically had at least 20 people in them. At all of these places, it seemed like, at least during the school year, the pace was hectic and there were a lot of people always around. I always felt like I was busy.
Now I’m in a new department (I’m one of two faculty) in a small liberal arts college in a small town. The feel is completely different. The classes are smaller, and the students always seem to be off at class. The campus quad is usually quiet, unlike the last place (the really big university in the middle of city). At the big school, people would eat lunch while listening to the Christian hippy-looking fellow standing on a ladder in front of the library, preaching fire and brimstone or playing inspirational music and singing slightly out of tune. Other students would be playing frisbee or football. Now I mostly see people walking from one building to the other (usually on the sidewalks!), with the occasional line coming out of the student center because everyone decided to grab lunch at the same time.
While I’m kind of surprised by the quietness, I am also enjoying the lack of everything feeling so hectic. My colleagues generally seem to be laid back, the students are mostly pleasant and polite. Everyone is getting things done, but no one seems to be running around all frantic and the campus doesn’t feel like a beehive.
Of course, it’s early in the semester; I’ll have to revisit this train of thought in December.