Freshmen have moved on from the anger, brutality, and grief of Achilles during the final year of the Trojan War in the Iliad to the epic of wily, crafty Odysseus trying to get back home to his faithful wife, Penelope, 10 years after that war. In contrast to the tragedy of the Iliad, the Odyssey is a comic story about storytelling, about rhetoric, about Athena/wisdom and family and home. In Philosophy, students are learning about the Myth of the Cave in Plato’s Republic, and what that implies about their own lives. Science majors have had their first round of tests and are plunging deep into their material. Sophomores here on campus are working into higher-level classes in the Core, are peeking into their majors, and are starting to dream of Rome; in Rome itself they have finished the wonders of the Greece trip and are looking forward to their own unstructured adventures on a 10-day break. Juniors are attacking the meat of their major classes, learning how to think, research, and explore in their disciplines. Seniors are starting to think about Senior projects, theses, and comps, as well as what their lives and careers will be like after UD.
At every level, the COVID outbreak we had just a few weeks ago on campus is well in the past; it’s time for serious academic work and one of the biggest festivals of the year: Charity Week. Stress levels rise as students take midterms. The first set or two of papers and tests has been returned, to wailing and gnashing of teeth; now the hard work comes to learn from those experiences, show some grit and resilience, and achieve better work on the next paper, assignment, or test.