Can you hear it?
Yes, that’s the sound of a distinct lack of undergraduates knocking around the place. Even the summer lab students have departed, off for a few weeks of R&R or debauchery before the grind kicks back in again.
I miss them, hovering anxiously next to the tissue culture suite as one of the PhD students helps them out with a culture. Filling the coffee room with laughter. Taking selfies with their contaminated petri dishes. Dropping their experiments on the floor just minutes before they were ready to analyze*.
It’s quiet, like only a department full of exhausted academics racing towards their last summer grant deadline with grim resolution can be.
But this is our last full week before Induction Week. Come Monday, the next batch of first-years will burst into our lecture halls, labs and corridors with astonishing amounts of energy and enthusiasm. I’m no longer teaching full time, but working with students has the magical ability to absorb all the hours that the ivory tower can send.
I’m bracing myself. Bring ’em on.
*Not the students in the picture – they were exemplary. And I made up the bit about the debauchery.