Sam Phillips, features editor, with Gerard Manley Hopkins
The boughs, the boughs are bare enough,
But earth has not yet felt the snow.
As an autumn of wildly fluctuating temperatures works its way toward winter, the UNCG community is preparing for the final weeks of the fall ‘22 semester. Students and teachers alike look ahead to the holidays and the darkest, perhaps coziest, time of the year just over the horizon. Now that we’re past Halloween and the time change, it feels wintrier every day.
Frost-fringed our ivies are, and rough
With spiked rime the brambles show,
The hoarse leaves crawl on hissing ground,
What time the sighing wind is low.
The rainy, cloudy spell we’ve had lately is set to continue over the next week, with temperatures gradually reaching freezing lows. For most classes, this is likely to be the final full week of regular coursework as well. The university adjourns for Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday, Nov. 22, and recommences classes briefly on Monday, Nov. 28. The final day of classes is Wednesday, Nov. 30.
But if the rain-blasts be unbound,
And from dank feathers wring the drops,
The clogg’d brook runs with choking sound,
Kneading the mounded mire that stops
His channel under clammy coats
Of foliage fallen in the copse.
The continued process of defoliation can feel a bit like the way the university sheds most of its population over the course of the holidays. For those who love this time of year, it can be lovely, but students or others who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (that’s to say, those whose mood is affected by the bleaker weather) should be aware that the university has mental health services available, should they be necessary. In my capacity as a graduate student, I make regular use of the counseling center for my medication needs.
A single passage of weak notes
Is all the winter bird dare try.
North Carolina’s bird migration season is mostly past, with the official end coming on the 30th, meaning that Reading Day, on Thursday, Dec. 1, should fall on a day when we’re safe from this state’s odd bird population. Reading Day is designed to give students and teachers a break to prepare for finals, so no classes take place and no assignments are due. The 1st is also the final date for complete clearance of December graduate degree candidates, as well as the submission deadline for theses and dissertations.
The moon, half-orb’d, ere sunset floats
So glassy-white about the sky,
So like a berg of hyaline,
Pencill’d with blue so daintily—
I never saw her so divine.
After Reading Day, of course, comes finals season—pencils and blue books, at least, are likely to be appropriate, though daintiness may or may not be. Finals will be held on Friday the 2nd, Saturday the 3rd, and Monday through Thursday, the 5th through the 8th. The final exam schedule differs from the regular class schedule, and I suggest students double-check dates, times and locations. Professors are likely to emphasize this point in class, but it also pays to keep track of the scheduled time and perhaps to add it to a personal calendar, since a sudden change to routine during an already disruptive time of year can lead to things falling through the cracks.
But thro’ black branches—rarely drest
In streaming scarfs that smoothly shine,
Shot o’er with lights—the emblazon’d west,
Where yonder crimson fire-ball sets,
Trails forth a purfled-silken vest.
The fall doctoral hooding ceremony will be Thursday, Dec. 8, and commencement will be Friday, Dec. 9 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Finally, the deadline for grade submission is Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 p.m. I try to regularly remind my students that communication before this deadline is crucial, since teachers generally have to submit all of a class’s grades at once, so students requiring any kind of extension should work out plans as early as possible to avoid delaying grade posting.
Long beds I see of violets
In beryl lakes which they reef o’er:
A Pactolean river frets
Against its tawny-golden shore:
Students who may be on track to receive lower grades than they would like should be aware of the UNCG grade replacement policy, which allows a student receiving a C- or lower to retake a course for a new grade up to four different times in their undergraduate career, with certain exceptions. In particular, I often encourage first-year students to look into this option when they’ve been unable to complete the requirements to pass my class and it’s past the withdrawal date, since a zero on a GPA has a particularly strong effect early in college with fewer other grades to balance it out.
All ways the molten colours run:
Till, sinking ever more and more
Into an azure mist, the sun
Drops down engulf’d, his journey done.
Finally, students and teachers alike are free to rest over the December holidays. Hanukkah begins Dec. 18 this year, followed by the Winter Solstice on the 21st, Christmas at the usual time, the end of Hanukkah and the beginning of Kwanzaa (plus Boxing Day) on the 26th, and finally the end of Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day, again on the usual date. After another week, classes begin on Monday, Jan. 9, for the spring semester.