In mid-May, the difference between the student summer and the professor summer seemed vast to me. One approaches the student summer the way Evel Knievel approaches a line of Ford Mustangs — a burst of frenzied acceleration as one heads up the ramp of stress and procrastination, a brief moment of giddy release as one floats tantalizingly close to success in the course of an all-nighter or three, and then a crash-and-burn landing in which one turns in the finished product which earns one notoriety but isn’t quite as successful as you had hoped it would be.
Entry into the professor summer is much more apocalyptic. You announce to your students that the end times are coming. Panic ensues as all and sundry suddenly realize — despite your jeremiads to the contrary throughout the entire semester — that they shall all be judged when the last days come. What follows is typically a period of intense activity as students undertake the scholarly equivalent of cashing in their lifetime savings and spending it on kerosene and canned goods (or, to keep the metaphor straight, jumping over a line of Ford Mustangs). Are there extra credit assignments available? Can papers due months ago still be turned in for credit? —Alex Golub —Summer Thoughts — I (Inside Higher Ed)