Sometimes the most wonderful thing about working on a university campus is the summer. We have  a break between the end of the spring semester and the start of summer term A in which there is almost no one here. These are the times of the year that stand out in shocking contrast to when the students are here. Earlier today I walked to the Starbucks on campus and I saw two people the entire time. It is so quiet here on campus right now, you can hear the breeze blowing through the trees, conversations from people yards away stand out clearly, and there is a hushed feeling of an abandoned town.

I’m not sure why I enjoy the silence so much, I think because it contrasts the way things normally are around here. Typically chaos is unfolding all around you as the semester begins, and it steadily increases until students with only a few hours of sleep are dragging themselves around campus like zombies, lusting after the tender morsels of the end of finals. The end of the semester culminates in a week of busy that almost cannot be described. Students preparing for that final presentation, studying for tests that they never feel ready for, saying goodbye to people they might not see for a few months, or ever again.

And then there is silence. In one swoop they are gone, and what days before was a bustling area outside my window is now an empty square that I look down upon to see birds frolicking rather than students.  I look forward to the quiet days of the semester, and summer in general. There will be students returning soon, but not as many. For the next few months the campus will be subdued, it will be resting for the fall, in which it will spring back to life again in full force. The great thing about working in a place like this is you can look at each semester as a new beginning, a chance to start over again and look forward to something new. Last summer I was waiting for someone to return, and while that didn’t work out, it gave me that anticipatory feeling. This fall I look forward to other things, and I’m sure there will be others beyond that for spring.

The only problem with working in this environment is eventually it begins to catch up to you. In a world where everyone is perpetually 18-22 each year seems to ring out that much more. Every year there is a little list that is published to help professors identify with students. Some of the top ones off that list include, they have never used a card catalog to find a book, they have never seen Saved by the Bell, and there has always been blue Jell-O. The growing gap of differences continues to get larger, but I digress.

So, for now, I’ll enjoy the silence the summer brings and look forward to a new semester of bustling activity and shuffling feet as classes begin again.