Science Poetry

Winter Break

Semester autumnal concluding
With Finals Week tasks, grade-computing…
Pause pathway reactive 
For routine refractive 
In spring-academic-preluding.  

This is a non-Twitter limerick written specifically to wrap up the Fall 2022 semester and look ahead to the Spring 2023 term.  

Semester autumnal concluding /
With Finals Week tasks, grade-computing…

This is Finals Week on campus, which means the number of assessments to evaluate skyrockets, as the number of class meetings dwindles.  “Grade-computing” is the order of most days, as assignments and exams accumulate.  

Pause pathway reactive /
For routine refractive…

The image of a reaction coordinate diagram— which chemists use to map out the energetics of a reaction— comes to mind often during the peaks and valleys of an autumn semester, which can combine to provide the sense of an academic roller coaster.  The “Finals Week tasks” mentioned in the previous lines can build into a fearsome metaphorical maximum, and at winter break, the “pathway reactive” can find a brief energetic minimum, even if the academic year is not fully complete.   

 A “routine refractive” is one that changes direction slightly, via some significant poetic license.  (In a STEM context, refraction is a term describing the bending of light rays.)  For a few weeks, the academic-year routine is briefly interrupted, and focus shifts elsewhere.  

In spring-academic-preluding.  

Part of that refractive routine involves turning attention towards the new semester and its new classes.  Class preparation is always a significant part of winter break, in the “spring-academic-preluding,” but it will be helpful to rest at least briefly before that begins.  I will likewise pause these posts for a few weeks!