The winter quarter is nearly over for us, and with it come all the typical signs. Attendance in my classes has spiked, students are contacting me more frequently about assignments, and there’s a hint of stress and exhaustion in every interaction. In some cases, although thankfully not yet this quarter, the desperation can drive students to stupid moves like cutting corners or violating Academic Integrity. Through all of it I wish I could just get the students to see the bigger picture. If they calm down and focus for another 10 days it will all be over. And, no, it probably won’t be as bad as they think it will be, even if the worst they can imagine comes to pass.
With a little reflection I can see that I fall into the same trap, although not always in the same situations as the students. Yes, the end of quarter grading and exam creation is tiring. But more stressful for me are paper deadlines, conferences, the ebb and flow of collaborations, reviewing, and all the other mini-crises that poke their heads up at just the wrong times. Like the students I just need to put my head down and focus, spending less time fretting about consequences and more time working on getting results. So maybe the hardest part of the end of the quarter is being reminded how difficult it is for me, like everyone else, to see the bigger picture.