First Day of PhD School

August 31, 2020

Been thinking a lot of Peter today on this, the first day of classes at UM.

Not having a picture of him starting school today, I decided to post my favorite of all the first day photos.. his kindergarten picture. Never fails to bring a smile… the look on his face says so much. He obviously knows it’s a big deal, as the paparazzi parents are snapping pictures like there’s no tomorrow. In this picture, he’s in a line up and I’m sure there is a gaggle of parents goofily and tearily looking on, clicking away. And he’s all fresh in first-day-of-school clothes, new shoes with laces tied just-so (and double knotted!). He’s got his sensible hat and his paperwork, so right off the bat: such a responsible big boy! To me, I see a bit of nervous energy in his slight stiffness, and that smile… it’s a bit brave and tentative. But I also see a good measure of pride. He was ready, if apprehensive, to start kindergarten.. he’d heard so much about it. Undoubtedly, there were some kiddos in that vicinity who were not so sure about all this and were clinging to parents who were trying to convince them that entering that classroom was a good thing. I know there was drama and I’m sure he was glad not to be a part of it.



2003…  that was only 17 years ago. Gosh.

So.. yeah.. all the compulsory school: over;  the undergraduate college years: over. And now.. as Yali said on Facebook this afternoon… It’s the first day of PhD school!

It’s a weird time to be starting school, of course, because the whole country’s talking about students returning to classes this fall.. the little ones as well as the big ones. Public health officials worry about college kids because of the invincibility factor and the expectation that they’ll flaunt guidelines. Dr. Birx came out publicly today to say that if a college kid does contract Covid-19, they should stay at school and recover there. She warned that the spread, should they come home, would cause worse problems. So there’s that. I just hope Peter will wear his mask. I’m pretty confident he will.

Lamenting that I cannot get a first-day-of-school photo… so I’ll share the closest I could come to a current photo of Peter in Ann Arbor:

This is about a week ago. He’d just had his second meet up with Aaron–his advisor/major professor– but the first academic conversation, and he was pretty jazzed, so called us to tell us all kinds of things about what they’d talked about, his readings, his questions.. and it had gone well, he thought.



And another… he’s describing something that’s going over our heads..




Maybe this.. (he screen shared something from a paper he’d been studying):



As I recall… that thing that looks like a smudge is actually a ton of plot points for something measuring the turbulent flow of some fluid?  Maybe.

Anyway… another first day of school under the belt for our student.. Year 18 is now underway!

#LoveHimSo   #WearYourMaskHoney   #UnlockTheMysteriesOfTurbulence!