I had 3 classes today, the last of which ended at 12:50 pm. After the final bite of my salad at lunch that I earned by fending off the frenzied lunch rush patrons of Val, I sat and reflected on what exactly it felt like to be done with classes at Amherst and, possibly, forever.
In this time of year there have been a long string of “lasts.” Last classes, last Tap, last Saturday at the socials, last extravaganja… The list goes on. Interestingly enough, it would be a ‘first’ that defined my last day of classes at Amherst.
Today, at 8:30 I arrived in my classroom on the 3rd floor of Johnson Chapel to find a surprise waiting for me on my chair. Well, not on my chair really, but floating above it, I should say.
It was an Elmo balloon. One of those nice big silvery ones that you get for a little kid’s birthday party. Needless to say, I was perplexed as to the origin and the purpose of said Sesame Street character. I thought it was a mistake at first or I was just missing something, but as it turn out, IT WAS FOR ME!!!
As it turns out, Professor Rosbottom (the man) gives out gifts to graduating seniors on the last day of classes. Roses are usually given out to girls, and guys get a surprise I guess….. In my case, it was an Elmo balloon. Random, yes, but heartwarming nonetheless.
It was the first time, I think, that a teacher has just given me a random gift like that. Also, it was totally nonsensical but one of the best presents I have ever gotten, hands down. In a haze of 4 final papers and the sentimentality associated with graduating college and moving on from the places and the people you have gotten to know over the last 4 years, it is nice to just have a little bit of silliness.
Even more excellent was the fact that a professor took the time out of his schedule to make such a simple yet genuine gesture of appreciation for a student. This was the first class I have ever had with him, it’s not like he was my advisor or we go way back. Just a great old dude who loves him some literature and the comic stylings of a certain Hungry senior.
More than anything, I came to Amherst for what I perceived to be the small, intimate class setting that would furnish my academic experience. I found out that although this is not always the case (there remain some larger classes) in general Amherst’s small size allows an intimacy inside and outside the classroom that lets you get to know people pretty well in a short period of time. This got claustrophobic at times, but overall I am left really appreciating the close relationships I have formed with a bunch of students and some awesome professors.
That’s my dose of sentimentality for the evening, its late and there are drunk UMASS kids causing a ruckus outside my window. Time for me to sign off.