For nearly thirty years, my life has been lived on an academic schedule of semesters beginning, grinding through the middle, and ending with the fatigue and relief of finals. Russ and I were undergrads together and we had a favorite table in the library where we studied each morning. It was our spot. Even after our wedding the summer before our senior year, we still walked to the library each morning to work.
We graduated before some of you were born, in the summer of 1985, but Russ went on to earn several more degrees, finally finishing at the age of thirty,with a wife and four children to round out his accomplishments. He became a professor and still the rhythm of semesters shaped our years.
Now we ride this wave with our children, one in medical school, three at the University, and one taking a few classes at the local high school. Even my nephew has joined us in our crazy life and lives on campus only a few miles away. I still get nervous for them, after all these years. Believe it or not, finals can even be hard on Russ who writes the exams and then has to grade them. Engineering exams are not easy to throw together, and they must be changed each time the course is taught.Then, just when the kids breathe a sigh of relief, he brings home piles of exams to grade.
It’s a rhythm we like with many beginnings, middles, and endings. There is hardly time to get stuck in a rut. If it is a rough semester, a boring class, an unfair professor, it will pass in fifteen weeks and then things will be new again.
This Friday a lightness will fill our family, there will be more laughter and more rest. Russ will settle into writing and research mode, and the kids will sleep — a lot. Some of them will grab extra jobs to make money, others will travel to visit family and friends, but all will breathe a little more deeply.
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