Spring Break officially ended at St. Lawrence University today, but the students haven’t returned to campus. We’ve started remote learning. The structures of campus look the same but feel different when they’re mostly empty.
Two of my past St. Lawrence University students are working on their Ph.D.s at Berkeley and I discovered yesterday that one was giving her Graduate Research Conference (Berkeley’s version of a thesis defense, but earlier) while the other was in the audience. I’m very proud of both of them.
Understandably, this had me thinking about my experiences at Berkeley. In this picture from Grizzly Peak, the perspective folds together Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. In the foreground, look at those gnarled trees—they’re weird but they’ve grown tall. I’ll take that visual metaphor for the grad school experience. I took this picture on Christmas Day in 2016, so I guess that makes these Christmas trees, too.
Each Sunday morning during my 2017 sabbatical, I would start a load of wash in the apartment building’s single shared washing machine and head to Philz Coffee on Shattuck (don’t look for it—it’s not there anymore). I’d stand on this sunny corner in the perfect weather with an enormous coffee and watch the world for a minute… Before heading back to change over the laundry.