Thursday, September 9, 2010

Papers and pianos

Sept. 8 Yale News Two front-page stories caught my attention in Wednesday's Yale Daily News, a student publication I rarely see because it's neither distributed at SOM nor commonly read by my classmates. The first was this "one year later" story about Annie Le, the grad student who was killed last year and stuffed into the wall of a building on campus. Not much has really happened during the year, except tighter security (that some argue is irrelevant to what happened), and the fact that the accused is languishing in the court system.

The second story to which I was drawn was about how fundraising for the new SOM campus is not where it needs to be, and it may require borrowing substantially. The school originally wanted the whole $189 million price tag to be paid for by generous donors, but now there's talk of borrowing about a third of the cost. It's still scheduled to open in 2013, though.

A piano in a practice room in Hendrie Hall Meanwhile, my Corporate Finance class was canceled today, and since I discovered this while far from both SOM and my apartment, I was struck with a desire to explore somewhat. My wanderings eventually led me to the music building, where I was curious to see what the piano practice rooms were like. Turns out they're nothing to write home about ... sort of like indoor Porta-Potties for musicians. Still, it was nice to play a real piano for a while; I have a digital one at home.

And since getting home I've spent almost the entire evening grading the first set of papers for Careers, a first-year class for which I'm one of eight teaching assistants this year. As a former copy editor, my instinct naturally is to fix every little problem. And, actually, that's what I've ended up doing -- I simply can't help myself. But the papers have been a pleasure to read overall. Their first assignment of the quarter (they'll have four) is one we didn't do last year; they're asked to assess their current life stage, describe the obstacles/opportunities that they are facing with respect to that stage, and discuss how that stage affects their ability to achieve the kind of work/life balance they want. I love all that introspective "what am I doing with my life" stuff.

Naturally, we TA's are discouraged from letting paper-grading interfere with our real coursework, but actually I let that happen this evening just because it's what I preferred doing, and I am all about doing what I prefer in my second year of school (on the spectrum of what's productive, of course).

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