Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Favorite Moment of the Semester, and No, It's Not the End of Finals

It's possible that I have the best job in the world. I know there are people who make more money and all that, but making money can only provide so much satisfaction. I get to be involved with people working hard to make their lives better, and I have to say that there is almost no feeling better than witnessing the success of people who mastered difficult concepts under your guidance. Graduation ceremonies are fun in their way, but my favorite moment comes just before finals week and all the ceremonies that follow. It is our Science, Math and Engineering Awards. It's the moment when we can honor and congratulate those students who rose above whatever challenges they had and excelled in their science courses here at Modesto Junior College.

And that's one thing about being in a small department with relatively small classes. You learn in great detail the kinds of things that students in today's community colleges are up against. There are job pressures (in many instances they work at more than one of them). Many of them have young children with all of the attendant challenges of parenthood on top of their school work. Many come from families with serious problems, and many are the first in their family to take on the responsibility of a college education. For them, it's a victory just to be in college at all. Imagine the pride they have when they overcome these serious challenges and succeed.

And that's what today is all about. I got to honor my outstanding students with Certificates of Achievement in Geology (there were five of them, in the picture above; the others were honorees in the Earth Sciences). I also got to surprise Marissa, third from the left, with the Outstanding Student in Geology for the academic year.

Oh, I was also privileged to be the speaker for the night's festivities. I was having a bit too much too much fun criticizing the depiction of geologists in Hollywood movies. You can get a hint of the nature of my remarks here:
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