Although I have an account on the site and regularly get requests from students and colleagues, I don’t consider myself to be an avid LinkedIn user. But the site has caught my attention recently. A reminder to people that my work anniversary was here must have gone out, and for some reason it’s caught on with my connections. I’ve had several people congratulate me on it, which I suppose makes sense given that 18 years on the job is somewhat impressive.

At the same time, the number didn’t mean much to me until the start of this quarter. I usually give a brief biography of myself on the first day of class, typically telling them where I got my various degrees and when I started teaching at DePaul. When I gave this little speech to my Introduction to Computer Science course, which consists almost entirely of first-year students, they looked visibly shocked when I told them I had been teaching at DePaul since 1996. Doing the math in my head I realized that I had been teaching at DePaul as long as most of them had been alive, hence the surprised looks. So I followed up their shocked looks with the comment that I was in fact old, which I’m sad to say didn’t get even a laugh since I’m sure they all firmly believe it.

I’ve written before that the increasing age gap between me and my students is a good thing, making me into more of a mother figure. But I recently realized that in another 18 years, which I”m sure will fly by before I know it, I’ll be more of a grandmother figure to them. I plan to bake more cookies and tell them stories about the bad old days when I had to wait fifteen minutes for my program to compile on the mainframe at the University of Arizona. I can’t wait!