It's the academician's New Year in some ways. We're all afluster: classes start Wednesday, or yesterday, or the day after Labor Day, or "soon". Copies need to made. Syllabi need to be posted to Moodle. There are already students streaming through the office to make changes... "Well I signed up for calc because I thought it was like really important for like a liberal arts major to have some like experience with mathematical thinking but then I learned that modern dance conflicts with it and I realized over the summer in my internship I'm actually more interested in like dance and non-profit organizations for the arts and so I'm really sorry but could um like would you be willing to sign my um drop slip? I think I really would have enjoyed calc and I know it's like really important and I'll try to take it another semester..." Yes, I will sign your drop slip. No, you don't have to apologize.
"I'm going to visit my friend in France/Japan in October and I just wanted to let you know in advance and I'll definitely make up the homework for those days and get it in when I get back do you know what the assignment will be?" No, I don't know what the assignment will be. You will turn the homework in before departure or you will not receive credit. Pay attention to this in October.
I'm in a new place doing new things. New people. A new year. Some sort of alternate universe has opened up in front of me; I'm not at a liberal arts school this year. My plans went awry. I started this blog when I realized how truly unpredictable the future was: I'm well-qualified for certain kinds of jobs and didn't get any of them, and instead I'm playing a different role in the math community than I'd envisioned. No calculus prep and no college freshmen. Fate? Economics? Accident?
Time for bed!