Friends, I've submitted my final grades for the semester. Nearly a decade ago when I began teaching at the university, I naively believed that a semester would be finished the moment I pressed send and my final grades magically made their way onto each student's transcript.
I'm wiser now. Once grades are submitted, I know that there are still hurdles ahead -- a few emails from students that require careful scrutiny, rhetorical sensitivity, and (most often) sticking to my guns; final meetings with colleagues; and an extensive shuffling of paperwork to file and archive my records.
Even so, the act of submitting grades brings closure, and I can feel lightness seeping its way into the depths of my soul. And when your soul is lighter, clearly, it's time to celebrate, dust off your Microsoft Paint skills, and create an artistic representation of yourself.
Just like last year, I'll preemptively address the FAQ's.
Q: Your drawing skills are unparalleled, but that mountain doesn't look very steep. Can you comment more on the difficulty of your assent?
A: Don't be fooled by the lush green grass. I encountered many lovely moments along the way, but trust me, this semester's journey was an aggressive incline.
Q: I'm still doubtful. It looks like you're easily strolling across rolling terrain.
A: Hold on a second. I'm making a revision.
A: I added treacherous rocks, a barbed wire fence, a rabid dog, and mutant bees. They represent a multitude of professional perils and challenges.
Q: So, you're suggesting that reaching the end of a semester is similar to surviving The Hunger Games?
A: Well, now that you mention it.
Q: (Raised eyebrow)
A: For accuracy's sake, I should add that more people make it out alive.
Q: What is the dog eating? A crinkled piece of paper?
A: Actually, he's foaming at the mouth, but if you'd like to imagine him eating an essay, that's open to interpretation.
Q: You haven't been getting much sleep lately, have you?
A: Not so much. I'm running on empty right now.
Q: We'll keep it brief with one final question, then. Last spring you concluded your semester with a drawing of you in a boxing ring emerging as the victor. Can we expect this to become an annual blog post?
A: An artist must practice her trade, so don't fear, my days with Paint aren't numbered.