Last night I drove home from school with the window down . . . the whole hour of my commute. The feel of the cool evening air and the tricolor sunset just made me feel good. It made me feel like I was in college again . . . . because I am. I live for this time of year; I love the end of summer and the beginning of school. Something about living by the agrarian calendar just feels right to me.
Last fall semester I found myself a bit disappointed in my Master's program, underwhelmed by the expectations of my professors, and unimpressed by some of my classmates. At the time, I just expected more. I wanted to be intellectually intimidated -- as a form of motivation to be and do my best, and I just didn't feel it. I have looked forward to grad school for a long time; perhaps in my anticipation I let my expectations get a bit too lofty.
This semester, I thought I knew what to expect. I was so ready to get back to school that I purchased my books two months ago and started reading a bit. As I arrived at school on Monday, there were more people than I have ever seen on campus. There was a barbecue on the quad. The marching band was practicing. Cheerleaders were tumbling. But, as I approached my destination I could see on the door of the poly sci building a bright orange paper that read, "Classes begin on August 25th". Awesome. Two hours and two-hours' worth of gas wasted.
Yesterday, the day classes actually did start, I got my first dose of Public Policy Analysis, and it made me want to take back every bad thing I have said about ISU (except about its customer service; it's still terrible). The students I sat by had great ideas and varied perspectives. There are more women in the progam this year and more international students (which is to say, there are more than zero). There were thirty people in my class, none of them afraid to talk . . . and what they said was interesting and applicable. The textbooks and reading selections are interesting and full of theory. Needless to say, this will be a vastly different experience than the last. I may just have drive home with the window down every night this semester.