First Day of Summer

As some returning Faculty may have noticed, I took my usual position in the lobby on the morning of the first day of classes to welcome our students to (or back into) HWC for the summer session. As has been the case for the past semester starts, student questions humbled me.

As readers of the blog may remember, I solved the mystery of Building 2 last summer. My post must have had an impact, because only one student asked me if this was building 2.

I also had the foresight to prepare for other frequent questions. I knew that UPass distribution started at 10 am in the basement. Yes, we were still registering students, and the process starts in room 102. Students may obtain IDs in 103. Advisors are working in 404, and they arrive at 9 am.

I was tripped up, however, when a student asked about a canceled class. It turns out that we combined sections of a few classes with low enrollment. Despite our efforts to call and email students, some of them had not received the communications. As a result, a few students missed the first half hour of class while Deans Sarrafian and Blair sorted out the hiccup.

I was also stumped by those students who asked, “Do you know where my English 101 (substitute your own favorite class here) meets?” I responded with a question of my own (violating my Mother’s edict to never answer a question with a question), “Do you have your printed schedule?” A fortunate few did, and I quickly directed them to room 604 (or 1117, or 819, depending on the class). If the student was schedule-less, I asked if they knew how to log into and check their schedule. If not, I suggested they go to the business office and pay the nominal fee to have their schedule reprinted. Or, they could wander around the sixth (eighth, tenth or fourth) floor aimlessly looking for their class. I meant that as a joke, but I am not sure how many students took my advice literally. If you do find students frantically searching for their class, please direct them to the business office.

Those few stumpers aside, our morning opening ran smoothly. This morning was cooler than last year’s first day of summer classes, and so students entered the building more relaxed and less overcome with heat. My efforts to smile, greet them with a hearty “Good Morning,” and an occasional handshake were met with smiles, giggles and for the headphone-impaired blank stares. Most rewarding, I had a student who is transferring to University of Illinois Urbana Champaign bring me up to date on his progress. He is taking a prep class this summer to insure a successful start downstate in August. Another student shook my hand and thanked me for my consistency – he remembered me from last summer. He is now in his fourth semester with us, and I congratulated him on his persistence.

Happy Summer, everyone.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

2 thoughts on “First Day of Summer

  1. Great job Mr. Pres! (as always)

    Sometimes it just doesn’t matter how many times you tell students to hold onto and bring their printed schedules on the first day. Somehow they just don’t. The funny thing is they need a stamped paid schedule to get their ID and U Pass. Sometimes I wonder where the ‘lost’ schedules go. 🙂


  2. You might want to stick a copy of the printed schedule in a pocket for the room questions, though I have to admit to some affection for the “seek and ye may find” answer.

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