|The books from this fall's course on "Paradigm Shifts in Western Civilization," which covers the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, colonialism, feminism and environmentalism.|
Autumn always feels like returning to real life after the fantasy of summer. It's a leftover from childhood, when summer was a paradise of freedom from school, homework and the routine of seemingly endless winters. But for all its dread, autumn also had its thrills -- seeing classmates again, a different teacher, a different classroom. There were untouched new scribblers, pencils and pink erasers. Mom would order new clothes for us from the Sears or Eaton's catalogues, and what came out of those exciting brown parcels was the feeling of new.
I missed that "new-beginning" feeling in my working life, when all seasons were the same. But now that I'm taking university courses, I get to experience it all over again -- the new textbooks, new classmates, a new professor. I'm more interested in the content of the courses (no math!) than I ever was in childhood, but I still tie myself up in knots over the assignments. After my first class, I'm already reworking a paper for the third time. But it feels right somehow. Real life has resumed.