One of the perks of not being the new kid on the block anymore (no offense, New Kid! ha ha, ok, poor attempt at a joke---hey, it's Friday afternoon, so cut me some slack) is that former students come back to visit me. This afternoon a few of our '05 grads stopped by to say hello. Now I know these students pretty well, since I supervised a project of theirs over multiple terms, but it was still flattering that they made a point of stopping by while passing through town. But the coolest thing is that they (unprompted by me, I should note) told me how much the stuff they had learned in my upper-level course (the one that's related to my research area) was popping up in their current projects at work, and how much they now appreciated what they had learned in that class! Yippie!
It was especially nice to hear that now, during a week where I've spent much time beating myself up over this stupid review. It's so easy to focus on the negative in this job, to stress over article rejections and course evaluations and all the work that's not getting done that should get done...and to forget that sometimes, when we least expect it, we really are making a difference in our students' lives.
What a great way to go into the weekend!