This is my last end-of-semester review. My last one. You can read about three of my previous reviews here, here, and here. This is a special one for me because, as of now, I never technically have to be forced to justify the choices I make with my own work to anyone other than myself. Or, at least I will never be held accountable or graded for those choices.The third-year students are finally finished with the process, and we all agreed we are relieved to not have to go through this process again. Not that it is not valuable, but it is extremely exhausting, even when you are not the one speaking.
Usually, the way this goes is that all of the students, first through third-year, display their work. The first-year students are relegated to only faculty in their reviews. The faculty members question the students about their process and the work they have created in their first semester for 45 minutes, a monumental task when you still have no idea what you’re doing.
The second and third-year students get several reviewers from outside of Columbia in addition to a couple of the faculty members. The same structure of the 45 minute review is in place.
This year, however, the first-year students (because there are so many of them) actually went on Wednesday. So they just got to show up on Friday and see the work of the second and third-years. The advantage of this is that reviews lasted a reasonable amount of time this year. In the past, they have been marathon sessions. This year they only went from 9am-4pm. Two students (one second-year, and one third) presented simultaneously. This was also different, and really nice, because the third-years had the opportunity to see all of their classmates present. Usually a couple of us are presenting at the same time, so it is impossible to see all of your class.
Lunch with the reviewers is also a nice thing to have. It allows for some connections and further conversations about work to happen that are less formal and critical than when in the review.
This year, after we were all done, we took a little stroll to a bar close by and enjoyed ourselves for a bit. This is the largest group I can remember going out afterward. And of course, we ended up at the same bar as all of the faculty. Oops, it happens.
For the end of the year review this year, I am totally free. Since I no longer have to present, I can just come and hang out. Which I will enjoy.