MetaBack2School August 17, 2018 10:16 AM   Subscribe

End of another long week filled with all kinds of awful politics/news. So let's talk about something else. It's that time of year where so many students are heading back to school. Maybe you're going back to school to finish off a degree/diploma/certification. Maybe you're shopping for first day of school clothes for your MetaChild. Maybe you're taking some art classes at the local college/community center. Maybe you have some fond memories of this time of year and that new school supplies/bag excitement. School is in session, let's talk. :)
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 10:16 AM (113 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Maybe you're shopping for first day of school clothes for your MetaChild.

first ever.

😢 😢 😢
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:24 AM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

I work at a university and this time of year always fills me with hope and nostalgia! Seeing the new students and their sweet faces, filled with anxiety and excitement and hope and uncertainty, and their parents' faces, filled with all kinds of emotions, is so poignant. It can be easy to get swept up in bureaucratic nonsense later in the semester but the memory of move-in weekend, of families coming together to send off their kids and the knowledge of the love and money and commitment and sacrifice that doing so takes, will sustain me all year.
posted by stellaluna at 10:25 AM on August 17, 2018 [15 favorites]

I just want to say that I love the smell of fresh map pencils.

I'm no longer in school but I'll still buy a fresh set every once in a while because I like to colour and I love that smell.
posted by Fizz at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

It's already in session down here in Florida. We kicked things off this week to mixed reviews.
posted by saladin at 10:36 AM on August 17, 2018 [16 favorites]

@saladin OMG!? The youngest in that photo is sooooo not having it. I love it. :)
posted by Fizz at 10:39 AM on August 17, 2018

We have two weeks until the kids go back to school, but this is our last week of summer reading at the library! The New York State Fair starts next week, and library traffic slows way down at that time. And not a moment too soon - I am 7 months pregnant and flipping DONE with everyone and everything. It's been a successful and busy summer - almost 300 kids signed up for summer reading, a play-centered pilot outreach event series, and 2,500+ books read. But I'm over it! :P This time of year used to mean "ramping up" for me, but now it means "ahhh, vacation". Not this year (I'm saving up leave time), but usually.

My daughter is too young for back to school shopping yet, but I get to indulge in stocking up on markers, crayons, glue, and other fun supplies. That's always been my favorite part.
posted by Knicke at 10:57 AM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've been out of school for years but I still roam the back to school supplies every year! I love all the sparkly notebooks that are out this year and I always get a box of plain new pencils.
posted by mochapickle at 11:06 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

That's very sweet, stellaluna. I work at a university too, doing academic support in an academic department and the start of school is always very stressful for me. It's a lot to juggle tryig to make sure everything goes smoothly for our faculty, undergrads, and grad students.

Our classes start Monday and we haven't had any angry yelling parents in the the office so far today, so I think we're off to a good start compared to other years.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:15 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

PSA: if you decided over the summer to change your major, and now you need to drop all of your classes and add a completely new schedule of different classes, maybe the Friday before classes start is not the time to get around to doing it? Maybe thinking about this a little earlier might be a good idea?


A very cranky academic advisor

I'm also taking a computer science class. I'm pretty sure this is going to be the one where I finally hit the limits of my competence and can't do it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:28 AM on August 17, 2018 [12 favorites]

I haven't even taken my beach vacation yet, so I refuse to believe summer is over anywhere for anyone. It's an outrage, I'm calling my lawyer.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

I'm also taking a computer science class. I'm pretty sure this is going to be the one where I finally hit the limits of my competence and can't do it.

AskMetafilter and the larger MetaFilter community has your back. You can do it!
posted by Fizz at 11:31 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

stellaluna, I'm crying.

My eldest starts his senior year in college while my youngest (and only other) will start her freshman year in college. I'm so happy for them and so super sad for me. They're amazing people and they're going to do Good Things in the world but why is childhood so damned short?! They were just little things like yesterday and now they're all grown up and I didn't have enough TIME!
posted by cooker girl at 11:32 AM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

Mine is starting 12th grade, so we're kind of freaking out about college applications and whatnot. He goes to one of the most amazing public high schools in the country, which is great except for the fact that it's a four-hour drive away. We got mostly used to empty nesting last year, but it's still hard on us to drop him off at the end of the summer, especially with his birthday coming up next week. He loves being away from nagging parents (though he has to do a lot more chores at school than at home), and it's really an amazing program for acadamics, social stuff, everything. He's really thriving, which takes some of the sting out. But it's really weird to have a kid for so many years and then they're just not there day-to-day.
posted by rikschell at 11:39 AM on August 17, 2018

Adding to ArbitraryAndCapricious's PSA: If you are on waitlists and only on waitlists, as in, not actually registered for anything, please get the hell registered in something NOW so you are not having a meltdown in the advising office during week one because everything is filled.

My college is on the quarter system so classes don't actually start for another month, and in the past I've generally been able to grab a little time off in September, when the weather is nicer and getaway places are less crowded than in summer. This year, however, I am juggling management of fifty-gajillion Critical Projects and I just can't see any letup in the stress until maybe next June. Maybe. (But thank you, stellaluna, for reminding me of how enjoyable it will be to welcome the students back!)
posted by Kat Allison at 11:41 AM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

My daughter who has always been homeschooled decided she wanted to try school this fall, so she's doing 10th grade mostly at our local high school. She's planning to do English and science at home but she wants to take a couple of art classes and beginning guitar, so she'll have a full school day. It'll be interesting to see how she adapts. She's not going to like getting up early or sitting in classrooms all day when the weather outside is beautiful (or when there's a ton of new snow and she knows her brother and I are going skiing.) But she'll get to have the high school experience, which is something she's interested in. We had our first ever "shopping for school clothes" outing a couple of weeks ago.

I didn't like school much, but I always kind of liked the start of a new school year. New clothes, new shoes, new school supplies, curiosity and hope about the upcoming year. And there were the new TV shows look forward to, and the changing leaves, and the sense that Thanksgiving and Christmas were on their way. I hope my daughter is feeling something like that.
posted by Redstart at 11:59 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm about to start year eight as a community college speech and communication instructor. In the little community where I teach we get a lot of students just out of high school who didn't really plan for college, or whose job hopes didn't pan out, and they show up with only vague plans and minimal motivation. I do my best to try to help them get a vision for the future, but it's an uphill struggle. Some know just what they want and chose us over a four-year college because of money constraints or family obligations. They do well and transfer out in two or three years. And then we get a handful of students in their thirties and forties who usually act really nervous about going back to school and then proceed to ace every assignment.

Maybe I'm getting soft in my middle years, but my attitude toward the job has changed a lot since I started. The content of my classes is unlikely to change anyone's life. I mainly teach public speaking, and a lot of my students will never deliver a speech again when they're done with me. I hope some of what we cover about organization, persuasion, and research sticks with them, but that'll be reinforced in other classes, too. So, while I cover everything I'm required to cover and do it the best way I can, I'm starting to treat teaching these courses as my cover story. My actual mission is connecting to these students, being their ally, helping them navigate their transition to college and putting together a realistic plan for graduating. I find it much more satisfying to think of my role in those terms. A lot of people come here with no clue what to expect and no idea who to ask. I like being the professor with the open door where they can drop by and say "This doesn't have anything to do with your class, but I need some help with something."

I didn't intend to become a college instructor--it's very much my Plan B--and I'm probably going about this all wrong, but I'm pretty happy with how it's going regardless.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:02 PM on August 17, 2018 [47 favorites]

Will be starting my second and (hopefully) final year of my Masters in Library and Information Science. It's been a strange road to come back to school for a second Master's degree and being a student again after an 8-year hiatus was a bit rough to say the least. But I'm halfway done! Sadly, I really don't need much in the way of supplies but I did get some more notebooks!
posted by acidnova at 12:08 PM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

My wife and I are both getting ready to apply for faculty jobs for the first time. So there's that.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:29 PM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

I went to my nearby Costco today and encountered more parents shopping with children than I ever had at this store (most with a Costco Big Cart filled with a mix of groceries, clothing, office/school supplies and the current specials on trash bags and paper towels - half of them with one or more of the kids pushing the cart, evenly divided between kid cart pushers acting like hot rod drivers and ones struggling to move the massive load themselves). I mentioned it to my bus driver on the way home and he said it's probably because this coming Monday the San Luis Obispo County schools start the fall session. When I was going to school in Los Angeles a million years ago, we never started school until after Labor Day. I'm sure there are still places that do that, which is why the chain-wide deal on trash bags and paper towels runs through the first week of September.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:35 PM on August 17, 2018

There are another couple of weeks of school holiday where I am. But I went into the school I'm a governor at today to meet the head to talk about next term. Came away with a list of actions for myself like visit a particular school known for the excellence of its wall displays. The head's got a thing about tidiness. Future school leaders are tidy, apparently. Not sure I disagree about the work context, but I hope they don't have to be tidy at home too.
posted by paduasoy at 12:37 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also came away with a 18cm high stack of papers - new guidance and performance management stuff. Double-sided. Good times.
posted by paduasoy at 12:38 PM on August 17, 2018

I've been seriously considering a noncredit beginner ceramics class, but at the same time feeling hesitant because as hobbies go, it seems to require a lot of dependence on outside facilities and I'm not sure I'll be able to keep it up after? I have a little longer to decide, yet. I've been wondering if this is a legacy of my way, way too many years in school that I always feel this pull to take up something new at this time of year? I've also been doing the "you really should be learning a foreign language you dumb American" thing to myself lately and it seems related, but I'm not as likely to wind up actually doing a class for that.
posted by Sequence at 12:52 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Little Gal starts 1st Grade on Monday. I'm mainly dreading it because her summer camps started at 9 but school starts a little after 8 so I'm losing some sleep-in time.

We love her school and she's excited. My spouse and I are excited because we got class assignments today and her bratty friends that don't treat her nice aren't in her class.

They were just little things like yesterday and now they're all grown up and I didn't have enough TIME!

You say that now, but are you forgetting the mornings when it takes them half an hour to put on a goddamn shoe? 'Cause that's top of mind for me right now.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:52 PM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

The anxiety-riddled PITA daughter, as I've mentioned before, smashed it in her first semester at sleepaway college, officially making the honor roll! I've got a lot of Facebook friends who have been posting about dropping off their sprogs at the dorms in the past day or two, and I was thinking, gosh, your semesters start so early... and then I realized that this is her last weekend at home and next weekend we move her back into the dorm as well. This semester she will probably not be so lucky as to not have her roommate ever show up. We're in discussions about getting an off-campus apartment in the spring as the next step in adulting. She started with a new psychiatrist this summer as well, and so she's also got a few more meds to play with and I am hoping for continued success.
She got much closer to her ideal schedule than she did spring semester, which was kind of a nightmare in terms of registration and classes already being full by the time she was cleared to register in January (and an orientation adviser who'd never heard of her major and gave her complete crap advice about what she should sign up for). A couple weeks ago she had to take the gamble of dropping one course that fulfills her last remaining gen-ed requirement when she got bumped up to first place on the waitlist for a course in her major because the gen-ed course conflicted timewise and she never would have gotten off the waitlist with a schedule conflict like that. She lucked out and got into the desired class a couple days later, so now she's got all language/linguistics/Asian studies classes. Onward and upward!
posted by drlith at 1:09 PM on August 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

kirkaracha, I always said that the years are short but the days are long when it comes to kids. It's so, so true. And no, I'm not forgetting. I really, honestly wish I could go back and sit with them and talk with them and look at their faces and hold their little hands while it takes them a half hour to put on one shoe. I don't say that to make you feel bad or to say that I'm a better parent than you. Quite the opposite. I wish I could go back and be more patient. Because I really wasn't back then and I regret it.

On the other side, man oh man are my kids so much more interesting now than they were then. I mean, they were incredible when they were little but now they're these amazing people with big ideas and generous hearts and I'm so glad I get to be in their lives.

But I sure wish I could hold my babies again.

Dammit. Crying.
posted by cooker girl at 1:10 PM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

I started coding bootcamp three weeks ago, and I'm having a blast. JavaScript is kicking my ass though.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 1:15 PM on August 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

Also, I was listening to some story on NPR yesterday and they were talking about crying when they dropped off a child at the dorms. Now, I don't know if I am doing it wrong or the other mom is doing it wrong but man-o-shevits do I look forward to having her out of the house again. She's not called my PITA daughter for nothing. Said PITA was, in fact, sitting in the passenger seat when this story came on, and I would have asked her if she felt bad and unloved because I don't cry when I leave her at the dorms. But she had her headphones in and no doubt would have snarled at me if I'd tried to interrupt her to ask such a dumb question. I'm also quite certain she'd be mortified if I said a tearful goodbye.
posted by drlith at 1:20 PM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the sweet comment, cooker girl. I love being a parent! Sometimes I love it more than other times, but you're right, and I do try to treasure the moments.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:24 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tomorrow I start my next class in my ongoing quest to become a general contractor! I've never had Saturday classes before, and this one is five hours long. I am confident I will learn, I am less confident in how I am going to stay fed and hydrated for five hours.
posted by msali at 1:53 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

saladin: We kicked things off this week to mixed reviews.

My son started kindergarten last year, at age two. It began with a few days of acclimatization for him (and us parents, to be frank) when we accompanied him during the day at kindergarten, a little less every day. On the third day I was taking him to the kindergarten and we got to the front door. He stepped onto the threshold and stopped, staring into the middle distance. It was as if he suddenly saw sixteen years of compulsory schooling stretching ahead of him and so he started shaking his head, and said no. I said I would come with him inside. He said no. To cut a long story short, after about forty five minutes of me walking with him in my arms on the sidewalk by the kindergarten, he was ready to go back in. He wasn't thrilled about it, but nowadays he talks excitedly about what he does in kindergarten and has friends who he wants to meet outside of school. But there's a part of me that thinks that he probably had a point about those long years of schooling.
posted by Kattullus at 1:58 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

I went to my nearby Costco today and encountered more parents shopping with children than I ever had at this store

One of the grad students in my dept and I were just talking yesterday about how August is the month you just don't go to Target at all, because one of the school districts starts, and then the next one, and then the university, and the Targets are just madhouses until after Labor Day.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:04 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Going back to school in September = less of a big deal here, because a) it's the middle of the school year, not the beginning, and b) it's still goddamn hot. No fall leaves or crisp cool air until, mm, late October if you're lucky.
However, I am getting ready to take the step that should mean I'll have a couple of regular school volunteering gigs by the time the new school year does start next April, if all goes well. Big fears and uncertainty (look for angsty AskMe appearing this weekend sometime) at disruption of status quo, but I do miss working with kids.
posted by huimangm at 2:11 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to get so extremely hype for the beginning of school. That excitement was probably partially born of college being the first real school I attended (homeschooled until then) and having some freakin' actual seasons. School starting meant that the thunderstorms were going to taper off and the leaves were going to change and all the good seasonal produce was rapidly approaching.

And now I'm a PhD candidate, so I don't really have a school/not-school divide in the year anymore (there is forever and always only the dissertation) and also I love Arizona, I really do, with all my heart, I will defend it to the death as one of the most beautiful places in the world, but god damn do I wish Phoenix had more than 1.5 seasons. I miss that sense of change, felt bone-deep, as I walked across campus and felt the first cool breeze of the fall.
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:17 PM on August 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

They were just little things like yesterday and now they're all grown up and I didn't have enough TIME!

My youngest leaves next week for university in a whole other country 5 time zones away. It's going to be painful. We did the most logical thing and bought something to help us cope. (we were definitely not celebrating, no)

That said, my wife is a high school teacher so we're still on the school holiday schedule. oh well.

You say that now, but are you forgetting the mornings when it takes them half an hour to put on a goddamn shoe? 'Cause that's top of mind for me right now.

The days are long but the years fade away.
posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

When I was dropping Little Gal off for daycare she would either be clingy and upset and I felt like a monster for leaving her or (most of the time) she'd just walk in without saying goodbye and I was crushed because it felt like she didn't care about me. A lose/lose scenario for me! But then I'd ask for a goodbye hug and kiss and she'd be very sweet.

She was in daycare until the Friday before kindergarten last year. Her new school had volunteers standing by to comfort the parents. My wife and I were pretty upset but she was totally chill. We walked her to her room the first couple of days and then she told us we could just drop her off in front and we were proud and sad at what a grownup thing that was.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:53 PM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I am entering year two as faculty, and I am somewhat less stressed than I was at this time last year. Classes start in 9 days - still need to finish my syllabi, but at least I know generally what I'm doing for most of these classes. I have one grad-level class (statistics/programming) that is brand new, but I piloted it as an independent study last semester, so... should be okay I hope?

Today is my birthday, a date which is forever the harbinger of "crap, it's almost time for school again."
posted by pemberkins at 3:27 PM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

last week of august- last class- gonna graduate this semester.

posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:48 PM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

Happy Birthday pemberkins!! :D
posted by Fizz at 4:15 PM on August 17, 2018

happy bday pemberkins and congrats Homo neanderthalensis!

I work at a university and use my tuition benefit on art classes, I had been taking ceramics up until this summer when they took the throwing wheels away and stopped offering clay, and now I'm trying to figure out if I want to retake intro digital photo or maybe intro to dark room photo?

Also there are swarms of new students on campus and the food truck lines are getting longer, basically next week I need to start bringing my lunch to work again b/c it takes too long to go to food trucks when the kids are back.
posted by tangaroo at 4:36 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Class starts Monday, and the only comment I have is how shitty the website is for my community college. I thought I had signed up for a class, apparently didn't, and now the class is waitlist-only. It took me about a half-hour-plus to find the information that told me this. Seriously 1999 bad, and this is a big school.

The other class I wanted to take has been full since before I even tried registering, so now I'm just pissed off.
posted by rhizome at 4:45 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Class starts Monday, and the only comment I have is how shitty the website is for my community college.

One thing I don't miss about university, signing up for classes, dealing with a website that is overburdened/overloaded with too many people trying to do too many things at once. It seems to be something universal, something I hear from every student ever.
posted by Fizz at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2018

IN MY DAY we had to register by lining up at the gym
posted by thelonius at 5:16 PM on August 17, 2018 [24 favorites]

My kids start next Wednesday and a week from Monday and NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON. The couple weeks between the end of camp and the beginning of school has me investigating running away to join the circus, I have literally not been alone NOT EVEN IN THE BATHROOM (because the toddler is early-potty-training and wants to come sit on her potty whenever I go sit on the real potty) for the last two solid weeks since camp let out; when the todder naps, the boys are making hella noise and fighting constantly and talking in my ear non-stop, and when all three kids FINALLY go to bed, my husband wants to talk, and then I go to bed and THERE'S ANOTHER HUMAN IN MY BED and I realize I married him and all but I didn't really contemplate not being ALONE IN A ROOM EVER.

Anyway it'll be good when the boys are in school and I can put the toddler down for her afternoon nap and have as many as two blissful hours where nobody is talking to me! (As I type this I'm being treated to a disquisition on hamburgers that has been going on for five solid minutes and does not seem to have a point.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:09 PM on August 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

My daughter graduated from college in May. This past Wednesday she got a call from the department head of her undergrad school. He had an extra graduate assistant slot and was wondering if she would like to come back and get her Master's degree for free while working for the school.

She leaves Tuesday.
posted by COD at 6:13 PM on August 17, 2018 [21 favorites]

Ahhh! I’m so excited! I’m going back for my Master’s in October. “But greermahoney,” you say, “didn’t we talk you out of this stupid idea back in this ask?” Oh, you tried. And you were right. I needed a reality check and I know now I’m never going to work in linguistics in the way I had hoped. But I’m going back because I want to learn about linguistics in a more structured way. And I’m doing it through Open University, so it’s all online. And my work is paying for it! So the only real reason for my not doing it was... well, I’m super scared to go back to school after 25 years away. I’m worried I can’t do it. But I keep saying to myself that I somehow managed to career-switch to technical writing 2 years ago, and I survived that, so... I can do this!!! I’ve been wanting to do this for years. I’m pretty excited and nervous and yeah, happy.
posted by greermahoney at 6:32 PM on August 17, 2018 [15 favorites]

I'm currently shopping for super girly school supplies, because I think I've hit the point where there will be pretty much no women in my computer science class, and if I'm going to stick out for being a woman (and also for being very old), I am going to run with it. I also need to get some adorbs laptop stickers. I mean, I already have some adorbs laptop stickers, but I need to get more of them. I'm thinking this one, although maybe I know too much about the fucked-up racial politics of the National Woman's Party to put them on my laptop. Redbubble has a pretty good selection of women's suffrage stickers, by the way. This is one of my favorite women's suffrage posters! I also think I'm getting an Ida B. Wells sticker. I kinda want a This Machine Kills Fascists sticker, but maybe that would seem like a threat now that we all know there are actual fascists kicking around, plus it's going to seem grandiose if you don't get the Woody Guthrie reference, which no one will.

Anyway, I'm spending my Friday night searching the internets for sparkly notebooks and political laptop stickers. It's the most wonderful time of the year!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:09 PM on August 17, 2018 [12 favorites]

I really like the kids I work with, very much. They are so funny and smart and strange. It is a delight to show them things and talk to them. But GODDAMN do they need to go back to school because I am so sick of being the cop of the children's room who has to constantly be like WALK PLEASE DON'T RUN NO MORE THAN TWO AT THE COMPUTER NO FOOD HERE STOP RUNNING NO WE DON'T HAVE WONDER YOU HAVE TO GET ON THE WAITING LIST OR YOU WON'T GET IT BEFORE SCHOOL AT ALL WALK PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR SPEAKERPHONE PLEASE NO WE DON'T HAVE WONDER NOBODY HAS WONDER DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE WAITING LIST YES YOU CAN USE THE LEGOS NO THANKS NO GUM FOR ME WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE OR I'LL SHUT YOUR COMPUTER OFF WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS NO WE'RE NOT MAKING SLIME TODAY SEE? THAT'S WHY WE USE OUR WALKING FEET IN THE LIBRARY. Because we don't have Summer Reading, we have Summer Running and Screaming. I am super looking forward to sitting around a mostly-empty children's room at 9AM having a discussion with the other librarians that we don't have to pause every .5 seconds.

Ha-ha, teachers! They're your problem on September 5th! (This gloating is probably why so many tend to assign some forgotten Newbery honor from nineteen-dickety-two every year.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:33 PM on August 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

I go to bed and THERE'S ANOTHER HUMAN IN MY BED and I realize I married him and all but I didn't really contemplate not being ALONE IN A ROOM EVER

I had a wonderful three-day weekend mini-vacation with my wife and kid and on Tuesday I couldn't wait for them to be at work and summer camp.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh my goodness, Redbubble does notebooks! I think I may have to go with a feminist sloth Let's Smash the Patriarchy one.

I really am not going to be able to find a partner for group projects, am I?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:51 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

This reminded me to register for the Spanish conversation class my parents and I are taking together at the community college. I'm really stoked to have people to practice with who aren't scary!
posted by linettasky at 7:56 PM on August 17, 2018

I worked on a university campus for 15 years. Back to school was always a shock to the system (Where did my empty bus go? Why am I being plowed down on the sidewalk? When can I shop at Target again?), but I find now that I really miss it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:04 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

But there's a part of me that thinks that he probably had a point about those long years of schooling.

At the end of his first week in kindergarten, my son came home, beaming, with a certificate for having done all his work. I was amazed at what a big deal it was to him. He was ridiculously excited. It’s all he would talk about. “Look! It says I did all my work!”

“Yeah, kid, that’s great! Good job!”

One Monday the next week I realized why he was so excited. I told him to get dressed for school and he protested loudly. “Nooooooo! I don’t have to go back! Teacher said I did all my work! Look! I have the paper!”

Poor kid thought he had completed kindergarten in five days, and clung to that joy all weekend long. You have never seen a more disappointed five-year-old as I explained the truth. Broke my heart.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:05 PM on August 17, 2018 [46 favorites]

When I was going to school in Los Angeles a million years ago, we never started school until after Labor Day.

Yeah, it was the same in all five schools I attended in Western/Central New York. (I actually started Kindergarten on my fifth birthday.) But now it seems like every district does it differently.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:18 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

"When I was going to school in Los Angeles a million years ago, we never started school until after Labor Day."
"Yeah, it was the same in all five schools I attended in Western/Central New York. (I actually started Kindergarten on my fifth birthday.) But now it seems like every district does it differently."

Yeah, a lot of more urban districts moved to starting before Labor Day decades ago; it typically worked out better with their climate (with no A/C in the schools) to be in session in late August but out by mid-June. More rural areas tended to start after Labor Day for much longer to stay with a more traditional farm/school calendar.

The current trend is for high-achieving high schools to move to a college-like semester calendar, where they finish the first semester before Christmas, except that college semesters are 12-15 weeks and high school semesters are 18 weeks, so that means the high school kids come back in mid-August, and then are out in mid-May after the second semester. Once the high schools switch to this schedule, there's a lot of pressure to move the K-8 schools to the same schedule not for academic semestering purposes but so that parents and community groups can schedule their summers with high school students (who work as camp counselors!) and elementary school students on the same darn schedule, so families can vacation and high school students can have summer jobs.

In Peoria, we had a perpetual problem with parents who refused to enroll their children in school until after Labor Day, who were firmly of the belief that it was JUST WRONG for school to start before Labor Day (which it had been doing in Peoria since WORLD WAR II), so they just wouldn't enroll their kids until school had been in session for 2-3 weeks because they didn't think school should start before Labor Day. This boggled my mind. Like, I might think that in my head if I were grumpy about it, but I would never keep my kids out of school for 2-3 weeks EVERY SINGLE YEAR because I was pissy about it. But it was a routine thing, we knew we had to plan for all classes to swell by up to 10% 3 weeks into the school year because parents were just passively resisting the school calendar. INSANE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:54 PM on August 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

Thanks for all the redbubble links. Just placed an order for notebooks and stickers. 😍
posted by greermahoney at 9:10 PM on August 17, 2018

That's crazy, Eyebrows McGee! depending on how many of those kids are in a particular classroom, it's got to be heck having to slow down the whole class just to catch them up.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:23 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Back to school" is funny for us in Australia because we run a summer schedule too, which means our school year is late January to December. We also have a much shorter summer break, with the year divided into quarters (roughly 10 week terms) with three two week breaks across the year. I like northern hemisphere back to school because suddenly all the education blogs are back to producing content!

It's part way through term 3 here. It's a bit more hopeful as spring is on it's way, and it's raining- finally, after a very dry June/July. In terms of school it's not quite close enough to the holidays to begin the count down- there is quite a bit of assessment to get through between now and then. I have to be organised, and even worse, encourage pubescent teens to be organised. :)
posted by freethefeet at 10:27 PM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Great topic Fizz! Happy birthday pemberkins! I am forever happy not to be at school/university any more, but I still subscribe to September as a chance for change, especially in France with the ‘rentrée’. I’m finally on holiday next week, and when I’m back, this September’s plan is back to online dating...
posted by ellieBOA at 10:55 PM on August 17, 2018

Eyebrows- my district moved the school calendar back two weeks maybe 10 years ago? and we still get some of that too. People are so weird.

Oh, man. I teach middle school kids- year 18!- and we get the kids back on Monday. Last year was the worst year I have had teaching since the first and I was just kind be blindsided like that after 15+ years in a solid and productive groove. Everything was terrible, suddenly, at my school , when things had been fine for decades: schedule, counseling, crazy parents, admin, uggggh, nearly every bit of it sucked besides the kids and a weirdly large bunch of them weren't too fun either.

BUT- this year is shaping up to be better! I got, over three days of inservice, the equivalent of a full day in my classroom to prepare, which is a significant improvement. A full 1/4 of the inservice training was relevant and productive and it could have been worse! I sent out a welcome/informational email to all my billion kids' parents and everyone who responded was positive and omg appeared to have actually read the email. A few just replied to say, "Hey, my kid is excited about seeing you again on Monday," and not even one response was hostile or creepy.

I just showed up to the teacher BBQ unavoidably two hours late (if you're going to do this, protip: bring cold margaritas and hot pizza to be welcomed like a conquering hero) and the vibe is good! We like each other! We are on Team Make This Not Suck! Everyone wants to do good things for kids, we're excited to meet a whole new batch of 'em in a few days and it was fun to see everyone in a better place than they were a couple months ago when the shitshow of 2017-2018 ended.

Cross your fingers.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:30 PM on August 17, 2018 [13 favorites]

I'm currently taking a substance abuse counseling certificate that's been running all summer and ENDS IN four weeks.

Im already a clinical social worker so the class is one I could teach, but education hours are a thing. Soo, it's almost done.

BUT more excitedly, once I'm done I'm planing on taking the easy level of the Japanese Professency Exam in Dec (I should take 4, but going to take 5 just because I would rather have another 6 months before taking 4 just in case), which while absolutely useless for me professionally is a point of pride. So, yay, hobbies!
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:40 PM on August 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have just over a month before the students return and the queue for the coffee shop gets hideous. Luckily, I don’t generally have to deal with them directly as all their queries on my side of things get mediated through my front line colleagues. But it is a good reminder to restock my coffee drawer with good coffee so I can make it in my office instead of braving the queues.
posted by halcyonday at 4:13 AM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Y'all, my child is two (and a quarter) and thanks to all of these stories of tearful college goodbyes I am having to restrain myself from going in and waking her up to cuddle her. (Also drlith, your college dropoff account is hilarious, so thank you for the helpful reality check.)

Kiddo is entering the "firefly" class at her daycare in September. She is a toucan no more, and her cottontail days are far behind. Yeah, our daycare has an inexplicable naming system. Anyway, earlier this week one of her friends in the next classroom was crying due to morning separation anxiety, and Kiddo doggedly asked her teacher if she could go into the next classroom to comfort her. Once granted permission, she went over and carefully gave her friend a hug and patted her back. She's a sweet kid.

As for me, I went to Catholic K-8 school, so "back to school" shopping didn't include clothes (we wore an especially drab uniform). I tend to buy a whole lot of fun ridiculous clothing in August to compensate now that I'm an adult. This week I bought myself a few pairs of rainbow toe socks and this shirt, which arrived in the mail yesterday. I am very pleased with myself.
posted by duffell at 4:47 AM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

My baby is only one, but his birthday is on Friday so I'm throwing a little party in our backyard (for him, but also for us). Catered Mexican food, cake, balloons, keeping it simple. I'm starting to realize that his birthdays will forever be tinged with this back to school flavor.
posted by peacheater at 4:59 AM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm excited about clearanced Ticonderogas.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:24 AM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

fluffy battle kitten, are you talking about these? Because if so, yes. These are the most comfortable pencils to use when you're writing for longer periods of time, at least in my opinion.
posted by Fizz at 6:17 AM on August 18, 2018

Also, I'm perfectly happy to have this thread devolve into a discussion about our favourite pencils and back to school supplies. :)
posted by Fizz at 6:18 AM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

In my part of Virginia it's actually illegal to start school prior to Labor Day unless the school system gets an exemption from the state. It's called the King Dominion law, after the amusement park that lobbied for it to make sure their high school summer labor was available through the Labor Day weekend.

To be fair, over the years the state has taken the rule less and less seriously, and I don't think there is any real issue with schools starting sooner these days.
posted by COD at 6:22 AM on August 18, 2018

Then if we're going to talk stationary, I must rave about Le Pen. I picked a teal one out at an art supply store, and I love it. At first it felt too light, but now the lightness and compact design are definite pluses for me. And it writes so smoothly and easily- ugh.
posted by Mouse Army at 6:32 AM on August 18, 2018

I have a waitlist. Freshmen haven't registered yet, so I can't override students in, and despite the fact that I emailed everyone on the waitlist to tell them this, I'm getting a steady drip-drip-drip of emails all summer begging to get in. My college is going through a financial crisis and I have been doing frantic committee work all summer to try to figure out how we're going to right the ship.

I have one more week to write the syllabi I haven't started yet, and two days to write the report that's supposed to inform the campus of my committee's work. Have I mentioned that one of my classes is a new prep?

So, I'm fine.
posted by BrashTech at 7:37 AM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

The kid is long out of college so I don't have to worry about that stuff these days.

I had been working on a certificate program for photography at a local independent film school but they've hit a financial iceberg and cancelled classes for the fall and may or may not resurface in the winter. The good news is that one of the instructors has started his own little workshop/school and is going to be offering the same class (Intro to Portrait Photography) that I was going to take at the school so even if I never actually get my certificate, I can keep studying.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 AM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Kiddo is entering the "firefly" class at her daycare in September. She is a toucan no more, and her cottontail days are far behind. Yeah, our daycare has an inexplicable naming system.

My parochial school had class names, too, because most of the classrooms combined two grade levels. I remember there were the Joshuas, Elijahs, Jeremiahs, Junior and Senior Disciples, and two more that I can't recall.

I love to go in stores this time of year and just smell the new school supplies.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:31 AM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm a bit nervous about this semester; I'm teaching a three-course load for the first time ever, and on top of that they're all different courses. I have a small battalion of undergrad TAs to help, but I'm still going to need to be about five times more organized than I historically have been. The small mercy is that all the classes are scheduled inside a 6-hour block on T/Th, so at least my time is not chopped up into tiny pieces. But I'm foreseeing a lot of late nights at the office.
posted by egregious theorem at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

My son starts kindergarten this week, and my wife head back to school to both teach full time and take a full load of PhD classes. Suffice it to say it's both an exciting and stressful time right now. I think the thing that hit me the most about my son going to kindergarten is that for the first time in five years we won't be walking him to his classroom, but just dropping him off outside the building.
posted by noneuclidean at 1:15 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh god, this post made me realize that I need to go to Ikea on the weekend that coincides with move-in weekend for the many colleges nearby - seriously re-evaluating my life choices.
posted by btfreek at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

Hah! I am currently trying to decide whether I am willing to brave Target.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:53 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm staying up to plan my Evolution conference and getting increasingly amped up about it and about my work--I put together a poster that I genuinely like and can get behind, which was not the case for the last conference I was at; I am also genuinely excited about all the talks and want to go to ALL OF THEM, which is very difficult given the whole twelve-tracks-happening-at-once thing. This was also not the case at last conference for me. So both of those are really good. (Evolution is honestly my favorite meeting, and I need to make it a priority to keep coming back and not let lack-of-progress shame keep me from attending.)

I've been at a big slump in my research for quite a while, and this is pretty big for me. I suspect some of it is just that I genuinely do love this meeting and some of it is that this poster was much more hands-off for my PI--I think that despite his best intentions my general level of shame and lack of confidence in my work are not things he has any idea how to handle, and he tends to amp those feelings up for me. And this isn't his meeting and his baby like the last one. This one is mine.

And then classes start a week after I get back, I'll start my third consecutive semester TAing for a class I love--I get to teach seniors and juniors now! and we intentionally get to plan for them to do well and not weed them out of majors! and I just get to impart as many lab skills as I can!--and I'll hit the ground on my next projects and try not to feel too bad about starting, jesus, my seventh year of my PhD. Eek.
posted by sciatrix at 1:58 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

My current pencil of choice is a GraphGear 500 in 0.9mm with B or HB lead, I forget which.
posted by rhizome at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Okay, this is my favorite school memory. Probably third grade, on the bus, it's raining. Rivulets of water run down the bus windows, they're starting to fog on the inside. I can strongly smell the wet paper bag of my lunch, and the water is seeping into the wax paper wrapped peanut butter and jelly on Wonder bread, and I can smell that wet Wonder bead too. I sigh. To this day, the smell of wet Kraft paper takes me back to that exact moment. On the bus, the radio is playing. Ooga-chaka Ooga-Ooga. Ooga-chaka Ooga-Ooga. The kids are loving it. They start to sing along. Ooga-chaka Ooga-Ooga. It's almost frightening, like a riot, but it's also unifying. Ooga-chaka Ooga-Ooga. That morning kind of made an impression. This school thing might just work out.
posted by Stanczyk at 2:03 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious: "Hah! I am currently trying to decide whether I am willing to brave Target."

Oh fuck. I hadn't even thought about that. Target's going to suck for the next month.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on August 18, 2018

Just getting back to work after thyroid surgery. Turns out that half my thyroid decided it would fun to stop being a positive contributor to my endocrine system and basically be a haggis-sized lump in my neck instead. Had that sucker ripped out last Monday, and so far, it's all good. Wish they'd told me that neck surgery makes pooping difficult, tho …

With you all on the pencil smells. So many pencils have gone to basswood to save money, and they basically have no smell. General are about the only American pencil company worth a damn these days anyway.
posted by scruss at 2:20 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

School starts next week! I've got a course release, so I'm only teaching one course instead of two. Which is good, because the end of the semester is going to be a fun "Which will happen first??" race between the last day of class and my due date (which is technically 3 days before my last lecture, but I'm a first time mom, so I'll likely be going a little late). Also, if I go 4 days late, I'll not only make it to the end of the course, but baby will be coming on my birthday!

I don't have a TA, but our lecturer is set to step in if need be; the final (9 days after my due date, so I'm assuming I will no longer be pregnant at that point) is going to be interesting though. We'll see how grading that soon after birth works out.
posted by damayanti at 2:37 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm going back to university twice this September! Back to my normal teaching job, in my own subject, and also starting a distance-learning undergraduate degree in creative writing--both in the same week.

I'm very excited about getting to be an undergrad again and to do assignments that involve telling stories. I'm mainly doing the creative writing degree for pleasure, but also because I feel it will somehow help break my writer's block on my main academic writing and clear my head a bit on what's important and how to identify it. I hope. Alternatively, it will at least be a fresher and more productive way to procrastinate on getting any research done.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

We did Target just now and it was busy but not too bad. :)

I'm faculty and a phd student and this August has me feeling some kind of way. I'm almost done with my coursework (yay! terror!) One of the guys from our little band in our phd program got a TT job, so he's gone - and even though we never got to hang out a whole ton (he had a family and a life besides us and stuff) he’s been a good buddy for awhile and it's still weird not having him around. But we're super happy for him, it's a great chance for him and his family and not all that far away. Two more folks are going on the market this fall and we're a bit in that "la la la, we're going to ignore everything that's changing for a little while" place.

I had something really crappy happen at the end of the last school year and I mostly got a grip on it over the summer, but now there's all these people around that I haven't seen since I was in a really bad place and I've had to talk myself down a couple times lately (I saw a motorcycle parked behind the building the other day - not even the guy’s bike, he’s 1200 miles away, my sources tell me, and I still just about flipped out), so I'm booked in to see one of our campus violence center counselors on Monday. They may tell me all I can do is time, but I still feel like checking in with someone would be good. Relatedly, I’m navigating being fairly newly sober in front of a lot of folks who are not used to seeing me that way, and while my immediate circle is super supportive, I'm not looking forward to conference season.

I'm actively dodging my dissertation chair for a couple more weeks until I get my life together.

But! I have no new preps this fall (thank bob) and I nuked a couple things out of my inbox yesterday that have been causing me great anxiety, and we have new hires that I think are going to be good for the department. (And one might even turn into a new friend, we’ll see.) Football is starting again. I need to work on my fantasy draft. My students are pretty okay so far. Things are okay, I’m just in my feels about everything.
posted by joycehealy at 3:25 PM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Need to remember to avoid Oakland (Pittsburgh's University District) for the next couple of weeks until the student get moved in. The freshman this year were born in the year 2000!
posted by octothorpe at 3:36 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

The freshman this year were born in the year 2000!



I'm so old.
posted by Fizz at 3:38 PM on August 18, 2018 [10 favorites]

i.....t's going to seem grandiose if you don't get the Woody Guthrie reference, which no one will.

You'll be lucky if they've heard of Woody Woodpecker
posted by thelonius at 4:31 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I’m going back to school! Apparently 11 years of higher education wasn’t enough so I’m going back for 2 more to get a master’s in health administration*. I’m cutting way back, but still working part time to not take on any more debt, today is my perhaps last ever call shift at the hospital (woohoo!). My back to school shopping is basically buying a Windows laptop because I am expected to use some Windows-only software for my program and I haven’t owned a PC in like 20 years (my MacBook Air is hella Old so I wasn’t going to bother with parallels). Also, I tuned my bike up myself so I can ride to campus and had to buy some new cables. I’d like to justify “school clothes” but I’m trying to be thrifty. Besides that, I already have lots of pencils and my Trapper Keeper is still in pretty good shape.

The kids, as part of this crazy plan are transferring from their hippy private school with no homework to the public school down the street with homework every night. They seem surprisingly ok with this and are happy to make friends who live in the neighborhood. Gramma flew into town today and offered to take them clothes shopping, so we’re good there.
*I’m getting sick and tired of the broken health care system and just like everything else, I guess if no one else is going to do it, it’s up to me again to fix everything for all of you.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:43 PM on August 18, 2018 [15 favorites]

Slarty, way to take one for the team!

For Various Reasons involving my health, writing of the current novel is creeeeeeping along. And I’m too unwell to do any conventions. Rather than sitting around obsessing about those things, I’m learning to paint with gouache! And being happily enabled by the folks in chat! It’s lovely to be connecting with folks, bringing some smiles, and I feel like I’m being constructive, too.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 4:56 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am blissfully done with formal schooling, but I love this time of year. As much as I like summer and all the things I can do in it, I'm hungry for a new season. One that involves a lot of cozy knits, and hopefully a cat willing to snuggle again. I'm really excited to be doing a lot of preserving/baking/etc. this weekend, though, with the height of the summer bounty hitting the farmer's market.

I don't reeeeally need school supplies, but I may buy some notebooks and other fun things. I love stationary shopping, and this seems like a good season to treat myself. (I love Paperchase, and second the recommendation above for Le Pen pens! I love mine, although right now I"m on a big fountain pen kick and don't really want to use anything other than my Lamy.) I don't need more clothes, but I'm going to cut out the pattern for a new dress tomorrow, and hopefully at least start pinning it together. I'm like 95% moved in, and kinda want to knock out that last 5%. We'll see.

Also, today I went for a hike on Squak Mountain and it was so, so beautiful and very long and for whole stretches it was perfectly silent but for forest-noises, and if I could give those silent stretches to Eyebrows and anyone else who needs them, I would. (Not trade, mind ;) But give! )
posted by kalimac at 5:52 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

There was a shooting at the Friday night football game of my son's high school. My son is in the marching band and it was by the merest chance that we weren't there (he had missed school yesterday.) "Only" two people were wounded, plus a woman broke her hip while trying to escape the stampede off the bleachers. Fuck you very much, motherfucking NRA.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:53 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

Daily Alice, I'm so sorry! How terrifying, even if you weren't there. *hugs*
posted by lazuli at 7:28 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

My newly-minted eighth grader was not thrilled about going back to school on Tuesday, so instead of Target, we went to Daiso for school supplies, and of course we got some fun gadgets and snacks while we were there. Her school got a music teacher this year and with luck, they'll offer band and/or orchestra next year.
posted by mogget at 8:39 PM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Her school got a music teacher this year and with luck, they'll offer band and/or orchestra next year.

Speaking as an orchestra teacher: yay! If there are True High Nerds at your kids' school they definitely need orchestra- but just band will do if it's a tiny school. :)

Daily Alice, that is the scariest thing in the world and f*ck those guys indeed.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:02 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Fizz, I am pleased with any Ticonderoga pencil on clearance. This time of year it's mostly the classic #2 that is clearanced.

I bought a vintage red apsco wall pencil sharpener off ebay years ago to make sharpening a delight. (We had one hanging in our house when I was growing up. It disappeared during a remodel.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:38 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Daily Alice, I live in Parkland FL. I hear you, and I understand. Memail me if you need an ear.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 3:00 AM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Kid Ruki is about to start her junior year of high school. It's also kind of her final year of high school, as she plans to take advantage of a program that lets her enroll full time at the community college and have it count for her senior year. She was going to need to take at least two CCRI classes to have enough credits to graduate anyway, due to the classes she took before transferring to awesome art school, so she decided to go all in. The thought that I'll have a college kid next year didn't hit me until this thread, yikes.
posted by Ruki at 10:20 AM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm trying to finish or almost finish my Master's thesis by the end of the month (partly an artificial deadline because I'm sick of having it hanging over my head as the last piece of my MA degree.) So of course, I'm posting in Metatalk for the first time in a while with my thesis open on the other screen.
posted by Jahaza at 12:16 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm so old.
posted by Fizz at 3:38 PM on August 18 [6 favorites]

I was going to thank thee for this very notion more like an indictment then ANOTHER notation on the subject. Nothing negligible noted not no negative nor nominal, naturally night- night.
posted by clavdivs at 6:01 PM on August 19, 2018

Mr. Freedom and I braved the mall yesterday and it was a zoo. Yikes.

I have the worst schedule this fall, thanks to our university moving to a no-classes-on-Fridays model, and also after our academic program review our French major has been canceled, so... it’s not super positive in the department.

But on the plus side, I have officially finished my doctorate coursework, including this summer’s 3 Chinese language classes, so that’s pretty epic!
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:48 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Our youngest gave me Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Does that count?
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:09 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

The freshman this year were born in the year 2000!

My first grader's high school graduating class is the Class of 2030.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

First day of first grade, first call from the office! She got all muddy and needed shoes.

Last year her friends got sent to the principal's office for acting up in class. She felt left out and acted up in class so she could go too.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:14 AM on August 20, 2018 [7 favorites]

My wife (who is about to start year 4 of her PhD) just got a research grant and will be going to Angela Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, for two months in the fall (I'm hoping to visit for a couple of weeks at some point).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:20 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm still alive!
posted by MT at 11:38 PM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm still alive!


I have the smallest of school year blips. The Drop-In Time that I run happens on a school yer schedule so I feel/act like i have summers off even though I barely have the school year ON. This year thanks to some increased grant funding, I will be doing Drop-In Time twice a week which I am quite excited for. I have a birthday coming up which I am also somewhat excited for. It finally got cooler so I feel like I can finally THINK again and it's quite nice.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

So the professor for my computer science class is using something called Team Based Learning, which means that we're going to be doing everything in teams of 5-7 people. It sounds like there are all sorts of solid pedagogical reasons to do this, and the class sounds great, but I am so fucking dreading it. I am almost certainly going to be the sole 40-something woman on the a team of 20-year-old guys. What are the chances they're a. going to take me seriously and b. not expect me to be their mom? Urgh.

But the class looks great. He is actually having us use GitHub, which is a first for the CS classes I have taken.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:28 AM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious, my summer trig class was a little like that, I don't know if the teacher read the same articles or what, but she seemed very invested in doing group stuff. Whatever, it happened maybe once a week, but she had to pick a different scheme each time and she was a bit scattered besides, so it was always a Whole Thing.

As to your 40something-ness, just don't take any crap. In one of our groups we had a "did anybody get this one?" moment and one kid did, but his explanation was essentially to mumble and point at various parts of his lightly sketched unstructured work.

I asked him for a little more detail since none of us understood the problem so well, and he dragged his pencil among a few of his scribbles, "just, y'know...and," trailing off, so I said, "hey, I'm just trying to be part of a group here," after which he looked at me, explained no more, and a few minutes later left for the rest of the class.

Sure, he might have anxiety or other issues (not language-related), but this is a class and it's being held in the summer, which means 40% less time for the same content. I was not going to babysit anybody for this.
posted by rhizome at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2018

Team Based Learning is a thing, rhizome. I can see how it would be a good idea, and I am trying to be a good sport, but bleh.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:47 PM on August 21, 2018

The lesson I learned was not to shy away from taking charge in a group, based on my own learning needs. "Did you get #4? #39 kicked my ass, how did you do it? How about you?" I got some teenish demurrals but people do respond to it. They just don't know how to take this stuff seriously. That said, if they're all useless, you're no worse off than if it was everybody for themselves and I just puttered away or put my head down until the teacher is available to help.

That article has a lot more steps to the strategy, but at the same time seems a little idealistic a la Agile/Scrum/your favorite, so I wouldn't be surprised if it comes down to an individual teacher's implementation.
posted by rhizome at 3:03 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love new semesters, and this one is no exception.

I'm transitioning to full time as a lecturer this year, but I have just one prep, so it's about as gentle as you can get. First class was Wednesday, and my students were pretty good in class -- asked and answered questions and pretended to like my jokes, what more can you ask for? I know they are going to drive me crazy, but I also feel super protective of them, especially because most are incoming freshmen. Baby college students!

I am still doing a lot of tutoring and various math enrichment programs, which means I'm kind of working too much, but it's okay. Everything has lined up really well, and I have gloriously managed to schedule myself zero morning activities. (This means I work late, but I am a night owl, so I am cool with that.)

My new cat (this gorgeous lady) is pleased that I am back from summer traveling, but not so pleased that I go to work all the time. This year's goal is to leave my offices as early as possible and do any work I can at home snugged up with the ferocious beast. She is pleased with the slight drop in temperature and has been much more interested in cuddling lately.
posted by ktkt at 1:53 AM on August 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

Lordy, Lordy, pretty tortie!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:35 AM on August 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm going on the fucking faculty job market this year and my first applications are due at the end of the month. It's been 13 years of PhD plus postdoc so I can't say that I'm not ready to be in the driver's seat, and I do have some of my own ideas that I want to go after, but I have a sinking feeling that I am not really prepared for the step function up in stress, responsibility, and demands on my shitty time management skills. And then of course combine that with stress about aging parents who stress me out even when they are healthy, concerns over whether I'm going to be forced to choose between e.g. a job and living in the same city as my current partner, etc.

Even despite that I do usually like the fall semester, even though on my current campus there are no undergrads so you don't really get the full nostalgia/anxiety hammer-to-the-face. It's the spring semester that always seems to do a number on my mood. I don't know if it's the short days, or just that by that point the promise of new beginnings offered in the fall has been inevitably been replaced by the reality of my having fucked things up as per usual.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:37 PM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sorry, it occurs to me that contribution is not really in the spirit of this thread. Maybe I should have posted in the "regrets" one, lol.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:38 PM on August 25, 2018

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