The beginning of the academic year brings a mix of emotions to us university professors: sadness at the ending of summer; joy at reconnecting with students and faculty; and the anticipation of holidays.
And, yet, we academics look at holidays differently than the rest of the family--hell, differently than the rest of the country.
For those of you with an academic in your life, I offer the following primer as insight into why our eyes glaze over in horror in reaction to holiday dinner invitations or the conversation opener: “What are you doing over the holidays?”
I’ll start at the beginning of the year, which for academics is the end of summer.
Mid to late August means for academics: Happy New Year! For everyone else: end of summer
Labor Day: Final syllabus cram! ... BBQ!
Columbus Day: Midterms! ... Sales!
Thanksgiving: Grading Catchup! ... Family Turkey Time!
December 22: Start holiday shopping! ... Ready for the holidays!
Christmas/Hannukah: Sleep! ... Turkey Family time!
January 1: Spring syllabus planning! ... Happy New Year!
Easter: Midterms! ... Easter!
Mid-May: Summer! ... Rainy season.
So the next time you invite an academic over for Thanksgiving dinner and he or she asks if you have wifi, just remember: s/he’s trying to figure out how to balance enjoying that dinner with you, but s/he’ll be working on a laptop during the big game.