A Day in the Life
Ron Reed, GSP-Murray State University campus
A typical Tuesday on a Governor’s Scholars Program campus begins Monday at supper. Faculty dine as they listen to other faculty, scholars, R.A.’s, and staff talk avidly of the day’s events. Such conversations may plant the seeds for the next day’s activities or for later in the Program as well as create opportunities for future collaborations between classes.
Back at the dorm, faculty continue research and brainstorming ideas for the next day, supplemented by interactions with scholars on the intramural field, in the dorms’ lobbies, and even on the sidewalks as trios or quartets of scholars play guitars. After the scholars head for check-in, the faculty will continue conversations late into the evening.
Tuesday at breakfast yet another group of scholars and faculty share the morning meal, expounding upon the day’s events over mounds of scrambled eggs, rashers of bacon, and that old favorite, a bowl of Rice Krispies topped with a sliced banana. The meal ends with a convivial “Have a great class!”
Classes will differ. One class may be visiting a local agency to do community service; another may be visiting city government or a local museum; another may be hosting a speaker; and yet another may be continuing a previous class discussion or working on a project nearing completion. In each class the scholars are engaged and challenged to explore relationships within the class, the GSP community, the local community at large, and within the broader constituency of commonwealth and world as befits the topic.
Conversations about classes extend into lunch with scholars and faculty again recapping the morning’s events and anticipating the afternoon’s possibilities. The quietness of breakfast has now been replaced by the enthusiastic hum of an entire GSP community who laugh and delight each other with studied insights into everything. The meal will end for all with “Have a great class!”
The afternoon, a shorter time period, always passes much too quickly. Discussions may occur in different places now. Some will go the Zen Garden for reflection, some to the library, some to a shaded place on a nearby campus lawn, some to a downtown coffee shop, some to a room conducive to carrying on a long distance conversation via SKYPE, and some on a walk being acutely conscious of sounds and light. Scholars, both young and veteran, come to see that intellectual insights occur in the most wonder-filled places.
Some faculty, after the class has ended, will move to the auditorium to work with scholars at Showcase Protected Time. Some will use the time for their own reflections and decisions about upcoming classes. Some will find that time works for doing laundry. Some will take that needed power nap!
More conversations occur over the supper entrée, a delightfully crafted salad, and the ever highly satisfying dessert. Faculty should not be surprised to see scholar projects: surveys, sign-up opportunities, the seven scoop ice cream cone, choruses of “Happy Birthday,” and the infrequent but highly enjoyable moment when a costumed gorilla chases an equally costumed banana through the crowd. Supper brings with it both the knowledge that General Studies has gone well that day and the awareness that tonight is focus area time, an hour and fifteen minutes often devoted to reading, research, discussion, responding to an invited guest speaker, getting the class ready for tomorrow’s activities or possible class excursion, or meetings with other focus areas on related topics.
After class the Program may have scheduled a convocation speaker, a session on prepping for the ACT, or a viewing of a classic film, but often the time after focus area is devoted to thinking about Wednesday’s focus area.
Later that night comes Hall Buddy time, when four or five faculty meet with their partner-R.A.’s hall. Faculty fill that half an hour in various ways: reading, discussing, making rice juggling balls, or even singing accompanied by the raucous sound of kazoos. And with that, the day is done.
In that one day, faculty will have met with a general studies class, a focus area class, and the scholars on a particular hall as well as with a potential Showcase act, other scholars from the staff, faculty, and GSP community in general. One can see why the adage of “long days and short weeks” runs true.