More Than a Feeling...

Okay. I really am sorry for the cheap song reference by way of mentioning that I'm in Boston. Sometimes you have to go the easy route, even when it makes you and everyone cringe. I thought about other titles - "Backwards into Boston" for the ride on the train in from my first stop, but this seemed best. Nothing else seemed to work, though. And worrying about the title seems silly anyway, since it misses the most important part. I'm in Boston.

I'm here, largely on vacation, though I've spent the morning lounging on a friend's couch writing "rewrite and resubmit" on student papers. Thankfully, I've managed out of the ten graded so far this morning to find three that I'm not going to have send back. Strangely, I never get this much work done first thing in the morning at my own place. It's like the academic equivalent of a Sanka commercial.

What's great about this trip though is that I get to see a lot of friends from grad school while I'm here. I was pretty lucky in my grad school experience. Grad students weren't forced to compete with each other for the tender mercies of the faculty, for one thing. But more importantly, our program drew great and interesting people as grad students. Academically, here was a willingness to share our work with each other and to help each other with it. Really, though, they were generous in spirit. Last night, as I was sitting on the same couch, drinking my beer and reminiscing, I was thinking about all those nights at the bar and out to dinner there was never a time when I couldn't recall there being way too much money to cover the check. Or how when someone was a little behind, there was always someone who noticed and helped without being asked and without asking anything. Of course there was the talk about big ideas. That's the obvious bit. But the completeness of it matters more, and that, as much as anything, is what I think about when I look back.

I was thinking this morning how I want to try and bring that sort of feeling back into my life. One of the tragedies of a great grad school experience - and I'll be honest, I look at grad school with the same fervor small town quarterbacks look at their senior year of high school - is that it ends with everyone fanning out to various parts of the country. So there's a lot that I miss, and it wouldn't seem like it should be difficult to find again, considering I (at least for the moment) work with people who are largely cut from the same cloth. Most days, that feels more daunting than it does today.

Maybe it is the sunshine. Or maybe it is Boston. Probably it's being close to good friends again, for however brief a time. Regardless, I'll take it.


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