Field of Science

Observations on the final week of a semester

The end of a semester and the possibility of graduation for some, survival for others, puts a lot of strain on the system.  After many years on a university campus you sort of get used to a certain amount of manic activity and stressed out behaviors.  And there are other hallmarks that the semester is nearly over.  Let's see what we have.  A fellow just ran down the hallway screaming and throwing papers every which way.  Hmm. Based on the papers, perhaps he was happy to be done with this particular chemistry class, one way or another.  Presumably done in such a manner as to never need those notes again.  A corner of our staff parking lot was vacant because someone had tossed a rather largish TV out of an apartment window, and it sort of exploded upon impact.  Perhaps they were aiming at someone's car (faculty?)?  Perhaps they had finally figured out that its addictive nature had caused them to spend more time with reality shows than with the reality of studying.  Perhaps it was a physics experiment done as a final project.  A student sporting a rather deep tan shows up to explain why they haven't had time to finish their final paper yet.  Hmmm.  A student stopped by to say goodbye and introduce TPP to their parental unit, show them the greenhouse, and try to impress them with how much they had learned.  Those exams haven't been read yet, but it's a good bet they did pretty well.  A student who seemed to have steadfastly ignored by advice all semester stopped by to see if they could get a letter of recommendation.  TPP explained his perspective that would have to be part of his letter; they seemed surprised that you just didn't write how nice they were.  Four cars of studenty looking people, no one of which seemed to know which way they were going, were in wrong lanes, going opposite ways, and everyone was yelling at everyone else.  This is why TPP never rides to campus on his bike until the crazies have gone home.  Grades get posted for a big introductory class in a hallway display case.  The first student to arrive looks up their grade and gestures with a fist, yelling, "Yes!"; the second arrives, looks, and breaks into tears.  That's the long and short of it.  A nicely dressed young lady is strolling through the quad taking pictures; with all the crab apples in flower, the campus does look lovely.  Piles of refuse are growing upon the curbs and around apartment dumpsters.  It looks a lot like the aftermath of a flood or some other natural disaster. Years ago it was the custom among out students to haul ruined, or just slightly used, furniture out into an intersection and torch it.  This custom was frowned upon.  Still the amount of waste is appalling; the concept of recycling has not caught on and slum-lords throw out everything left behind.  Garbage cruisers are having a big time, which is the only sort of recycling going on.  Fast food delivery is going on every where.  One place near campus has bike delivery to anywhere on campus, fast!  Yes, a semester is coming to an end; you can tell.

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