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It's the most wonderful time of the year

I have always loved college campuses when the students are pretty much gone. I've walked around Harvard Square in the mid-summer, soaking up the ambiance and history. I've done the same thing at Brown. Those experiences stay in my soul.

At every school I've actually attended (in the defense of my brilliance, I never even applied at Harvard or Brown), I've always made visits back during the summer. When I was in law school, I took classes during the summer. The classes were scheduled for early morning or in the evening. I just stayed through the day, though, studying, walking around, enjoying the solitude of an empty campus.

I have always romanticized education. It's gotten me into trouble (I have the student loan bills to prove that), but it's part of me I never want to give up. I look at the pile of books, both borrowed and bought, that have taken over every room of our apartment. Sometimes, I feel completely overwhelmed by how much I've read and that all it seems to have done is expanded my to-read list. But then I take solace in being intellectually interested in a variety of topics.

When the students are there, even though they are the reason the campus exists in the first place, they diminish those romantic feelings. The campus becomes a place of work, a place of necessity. It loses a lot of the sense of leisure and intellectual pursuit amidst the urban bustle of accomplishment. It's easy to get caught up in what you need to do in the next few hours and forget the big picture of what you need to do with your life.

Today, I took a walk at lunch. The weather here is beautiful today; the oppressive heat and humidity of typical Tennessee summer seem a million miles away (although they are probably only about two weeks). A light breeze blows and the temperature tops out in the low 80's. I walked around campus and then came back to the quiet of the library. There are students here, most preparing to sit for the bar exam. For them right now, though, this is only a quiet space. They don't use library materials, which is fine. I appreciate that they feel comfortable and can get studying done here. For most of them, this is the last time they'll ever "study" this way at all.

I help out the few people who make it in here off the street and need help with legal research. Everyday, I help someone out. Some days I teach professors things. Some days I convince people that, yes, you really need a lawyer. And some days I make the Big Bad World just a little more manageable for somebody.

I use what I know and I get to walk around a beautiful campus. I am surrounded by books and smart people yet I have ample opportunity for solitude.

Some days, like today, I feel like I have the greatest job in the world.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
raencloud
Jun. 18th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
I love quiet college campuses, too. I always tell students that I miss them after a short while, but it's a lie. I like walking across campus when it's just me and the nice weather too much for that to be true.
thndrstd
Jun. 19th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
It's a tough transition that we'll face again all too soon. I appreciate the students; without them, I wouldn't have this job. But it's always a shock to the system when they come back.
zoltara
Jun. 19th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! Nice post.

I saw a girl this week wearing a t-shirt that said, "The LSAT Is My Bitch".
thndrstd
Jun. 19th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That T-shirt sounds awesome.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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