The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Day in the Life: Professor Michael VanValkenburgh

Photo by Joanna SIlverman.
Photo by Joanna SIlverman.
Photo by Joanna Silverman.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics

Former member of the band, “The PANic All-Stars” based in Los Angeles

8:00 a.m. — Wake up and immediately think: “How can I best serve my amazing students today?”

8:30 a.m. — Eat Grape-Nuts. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay ate Grape-Nuts during their ascent of Mount Everest. I’m not comparing my job at Grinnell with an ascent of Mount Everest but am just throwing it out there. I will not eat at home for the rest of the day.

9:00 a.m. — Research. I’m trying to finish a paper before leaving Grinnell. (This is my last semester here.) I take a short break to have my photo taken. They requested I pose with my skateboard, though it is -3 degrees F outside. (They know how to play to my vanity.)

11:30 a.m. — Swimming at the superlative Grinnell College Natatorium. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best because Coach Joe is on deck!

12:30 to 12:45 p.m. — Networking in the faculty/staff locker room.

12:45 to 1:15 p.m. — Lunch at the JRC. Taco Tuesday and Mac&Cheese pizza!!

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. — Finish grading homework (22 students in Math 316!). I would’ve done it over the weekend, but I was grading exams for both of my classes. I need to finish today because tomorrow they’re turning in more homework!

3:15 p.m. — Teach Math 131. Yesterday, after they got their exams back, the mood was somber. Today was much better.

4:15 p.m. — Office hour. Students came with questions about their exams and Math 316 students came with homework questions.

Dinnertime — Eat dinner at the JRC. You know I love you guys, but when it comes to chicken strips you’re greedy bastards!

7:00 to 9:00 p.m. — Steeldrum practice in Bucksbaum. I joined the steeldrum band this semester, and we rehearse on Tuesdays. WE NEED A COUPLE MORE PEOPLE TO JOIN THE BAND. Please come talk to me if you’re interested. I’ll give you some music to listen to, and you will be hooked forever. You can play steeldrums and/or drum set. Seriously, Google it and contact me.

9:00 p.m. — Stay in my office another couple hours, working on my paper. I know I’ll write this “Day in the Life” for the newspaper, and I want to impress you!

11:00 p.m. — Read a math book for enjoyment. Currently reading a beautiful old book, “Calculus of Variations and Partial Differential Equations of the First Order” by Constantin Carathéodory.

After midnight — [REDACTED]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *