There is no greater joy than the first day of a fresh semester. Busy bee students flock around with add-drop forms and binders that have yet to meet any sort of maddening notes. The fresh slate has come from the calm of summer and, therein, the chaotic tide of education erodes it into a monument of lessons learned and ideas to come. We pile these slates throughout our journey in the world of The College of Idaho, with four, sometimes more, towering as a reminder of what has been done and, in some cases, what will be done next. I was one of the bees with a clipped wing; such is the nature of business holds and graduation applications. Both are daunting matters, but both can thankfully be resolved.
This past week I finally figured out my schedule and the treasures therein are bountiful and remarkable. The moment I stepped into Sue Schaper’s course discussion on the paranormal and strange in British literature was one wherein I knew that this year was going to be revolutionary in the knowledge I will consume. Discussions on the transition from neoclassical literature into gothic literature, as well as the inherent shift in popularized themes and motifs, is nothing short of the best brainfood that one can hope to attain. These perspectives build themselves and carve themselves into the mind and body for time eternal and despite my focus being aimed largely towards psychology, this is a course that will be less of a task to be completed and more of an experience meant to create character.
Yet, it is not simply Schaper’s course that provides such a venue for the expansion of self. There has never been a course at The College of Idaho I regretted taking. Whether it is biological psychology or prose and cons, despite its grim literature, the classrooms are halls of practice and growth where students build themselves into better people, educated adults. The best part of this school, through and through, is its faculty. They give us their time and energy not simply through a syllabus, but also in discussions on a bench, in their office, or even through their email. The entire atmosphere is greatly collaborative and promotes a sense of independence that other institutions in Idaho are unable to.
The first day of classes is something that acts as something of a novelty, more or less, in comparison to the rest of the semester. Syllabi are toured through in rapid succession, an obligation that none can escape. Yet, it is a necessary ritual before the adventures truly begin. I love those little documents, they are maps of the semester to come and, with proper observation, provide key tools for the advancement of our study before the madness truly begins.
Therein lies the hype. My body shakes with anticipation when I consider the topics that are coming. It also trembles from fear for the duties I have been assigned by agreeing to the nature of a syllabus. I have no doubt, however, that I will fling myself into these textbooks and assignments. It is a matter of perspective – These are not tasks meant to accrue points towards some imaginary educational game. These are opportunities to discover and find bliss. It is my hope that we start to see homework less as a job and more as a chance to have some fun in a constructive manner that makes ourselves better people and permits the growth of culture and society in a very positive context.