Halcyon Days

Today as I sipped a mug of hot chocolate designed to get me through the next few hours of painstaking research, the back of my mind was also planning for the next teaching day. And I suddenly remembered --or realized really-- how beautiful and simple and pleasant the good old days were. They were the days where I got to be one of the students lazing in a desk rather than the one dancing around in front of the classroom saying interesting things.

All I had to do was show up and sit there with a pencil in my hand, while knowledge was bestowed upon me by some kind of expert. It never mattered what I was wearing, or how much energy I had, or even whether my brain was switched on, because I could just sit there.

And when there was homework, it usually involved reading a book. Just reading it! Not trying to situate that book into some greater historiographical landscape, or extract key arguments to engage with on a deep and laborious level. Not raking carefully through copious footnotes. Not building a reading list from said footnotes that stretches out before me like a Kansas highway.

Or, if there was studying to be done, all I had to do was memorize some interesting stuff that someone told me!

And if I had to write a paper, it was ten pages max. Ten pages! And it didn't have to be some earth-shaking, revolutionary idea. Just a collection of facts, really. Read a couple books, summarize them in 10 pages.

My apologies, good old days. You were so kind to me, and I appreciated you so little. And now alas! you are lost forever! I raise my mug to you, and bid you my fondest, most loving farewell.

Good thing I get a hot chocolate out of it.


The Hodges Family said...

Oh....the good ol' days! =) Love ya !

TheBenandKaties said...

Although the word 'amen' literally implies agreement in nearly every language in the world, it still does not quite capture the depth with which I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Sometimes I miss my student days so much that if I could travel in time, I would find my former self, punch him in the face and say, "How dare you not revel in the experience you are having! Now go do your homework."

Cath said...

I love this post, Katie. When I was in college I thought my life was so hard...then I got a job--teaching, of course.

The days of sitting in a desk absorbing and processing were over. The days of inspiring and sparking had just begun. And now that I do neither, they've all turned into "the good old days!"

marc said...

So Katie, maybe you should expect your future retired self to come to your door soon and punch you in the face.

Super L said...

I dunno, I keep thinking things like this, and then I see my kids going through it. And I think--wow, I would so NOT trade for the days when "I don't want to be your friend anymore because you don't like Pokemon" or "My mom forgot to pack me a lunch and now I will cry my way through the first 20 minutes of recess" or "I left my ice-cream money on the table and now I'm the only one at lunch without a popsicle" was my lot.