It's starting to feel just a little bit like summer is over. Some students are moving back into the dorms, a week or two ahead of their classmates -- those who are in football or band camp or who have to attend leadership training. There's more traffic on the roads. Folks with bags full of just-purchased books are popping up on the campus sidewalks.
And the kickoff meetings for the semester will begin on Monday and continue for the next three weeks or so. When the faculty is all assembled again, that's when it will be clear that our summer of scattered autonomy is over and it's time to pull together to deliver a curriculum again.
I always get excited about the new semester when the freshmen arrive. They are starting their college adventure, and I love to be there at the start of it -- inserting myself into memories they'll carry with them forever, setting the pace and expectations for the next four years.
But right now, that's all yet to come, and what we're experiencing is far more like an end than a beginning. An end to days with big chunks of time that can be devoted to long-term projects; an end to vacations with the family; an end to sleepy summer days in a college town that loses a fifth of its population when the students go home. I'm attending summer commencement tonight, the official end of summer classes; nine working days later, fall classes begin. It's not that I'm not ready, it's not that I won't be thrilled when it arrives. But let me mourn summer as its last motes of daylight fade.