Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Academic Year Completed

Monday, May 16th, was a fabulous day for approximately a quarter of our students—the 435 seniors and 95 graduate students who received their diplomas. This was the 104th graduation ceremony at Saint Michael’s College. Local press coverage and photographs here:

Thirty-five of these happy graduates were political science majors; another 11 completed a political science minor. Many more took one to a few political science courses, evidenced by our enrollment figures. Several of our courses fulfill Liberal Studies requirements while others are popular electives.

Although the crop of graduates are facing a tough job market several of my students indicated they already had employment lined up. I tell my seniors that their first job will only be their first job—a chance to acquire skills and build a resume. They should take their first job seriously, of course, but the also need to understand it is not the rest of their lives. In today’s market, they should expect to change jobs frequently, especially at the beginning of their careers.

Also, every job has some degree of routine, repetitive, boring drudgery. That is why employers pay us to do them. If they were all fun and glamour, we’d be paying them. I consider myself privileged to have one of the most stimulating jobs around. Not only is political science inherently interesting, but I truly enjoy interacting with the intelligent and idealistic students who populate my classes. The only down-side is grading exams and papers. It is not in any way the students’ fault that grading requires hours piled upon hours of what can only be called mind-numbing drudgery. That is just the way grading is and there is nothing that can be done about it except for me to grunt my way through it. So the happiest day for me is when I can at long last turn in my final grades. I miss my classes already, but let the summer begin!

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