i suppose it's a good thing they finished their finals one by one, or i really would have burst into tears. as it was, just a constant trickle as each 380 student walked out the door of tory 1-107 and on into their own lives. those students were so smart, so fun, so inventive and brave that if i live to be 100 years old i'll never see the likes of them again.
so i figured i'd better try to see as much as possible today, take 'em all in. that's what i do while they write their final exams, i look at them surreptitiously and extrapolate twenty years into their future.
take kate (not her real name): accomplished, professional, well married and set, she will look back on her "college years" with a good sense of humour and will never understand how amazing it was to have done all 5 courses in the honors program while founding a new students' association. elise's marriage fell apart this semester. she's lost about 15 pounds and taken up smoking, but she also found ways to make the course material speak to her. for obvious if unspoken reasons she had to abandon the project that involved transcribing her mother-in-law's story, but her final paper was a goodbye to the house she's being forced to give up. she's going to hide the obituary in a closet before she walks away for the last time. i'd love to be a fly on the wall when she starts dating again.
the class clown, in turns out, has ambitions to study romantic literature at leeds; he wants to be just like jim mulvihill. i would never have pegged obedient-looking fern for a race radical, but she is. will her relationship last? and will she like being a public librarian? oh, she doesn't know that yet, hasn't even applied to library school. and what about jeremy: will he stay here with his family, or will he take his beer-drinkin' truck-drivin' poem-writin' tattooed self up north? could go either way. that big filipino guy is the real thing. i wonder if he knows it. he does too much salvia for now, and i suspect he's battling a bunch of other demons too, but he has the quirkiest mind i've seen in a decade. i hope he follows up with marshall. oh, and what about those two in the back: i never did figure them out. they look so different in summer clothes.
and another one walks out, and another one, and another ... and by 11:10 when i've called the exam it's just me wondering: really, could i really walk away from this fulltime?