Professor Parties… I mean, “End of Semester Fieldtrips”


Culture Writer | Grace Hermanns |

The semester is cracking down, but are your professors? That one professor who speeds through PowerPoint slides at the end of class, is he trying to speed through three-days worth of material in one class period? Do your finals loom, haunting you like a ghost while you weave through the dusty stacks of Alden library?

It’s important to remain stress free for these next few weeks. It’s also important to remember that professors are people too, and their stress levels tend to rise around this time of the year as well. Often times, professors are excited to create a stress-free environment toward the end of the semester, and there are so many ways how.

GIF via Dailyedge
GIF via Dailyedge

Potlucks, game nights, a class hike, a night of stargazing. Professors, who consistently dedicated time out of their days for us, love including us in the activities they enjoy doing. They’re a bunch of nerds like us, after all, and seeing us become as excited as they do about homemade pizza probably knocks their socks off.

The Sunday before finals week, my professor of environmental and science journalism, Dr. Bernhard Debatin, organized a “spring float” canoe trip for our 10-person class. In addition to organizing five fieldtrips during the semester, Debatin will end our course on an adventurous note, the only real way to end a semester of free flowing conversation and flexible workload.

No more “can we please have class outside,” because some professors take outside to the next level. These separate adventures, we’ll call them fieldtrips, usually have an itinerary of whatever your hearts desire. Want to kick back, eat some hummus and play Scrabble? Dr. Elizabeth Koonce, professor in the English department, organized a potluck for her class that includes just that.

Art Trese, a professor of plant biology, coordinates for the Food Matters Club and has invited students over numerous times to make homemade granola.

“I’ve been to Art Trese’s house twice for granola making. He also went to Jackie O’s with some of us after class one day last spring,” Kalten Walter, a OU sophomore studying philosophy said. “He’s the coolest of dudes.”

But according to many Ohio University students, cool teachers are running wild all over the campus.

Stories circulate of professors who are more than willing to treat their students to Dairy Queen, stories of renting a van to haul everyone out to Strouds Run State Park and stories of a kicking back with a beer or two after class is over.

But in the name of professionalism, is it awkward to interact with professors outside the constraints of education? What if they invite you to their house?! Seeing where your professor transforms back into a normal human being is off-putting for some. Those constraints of professionalism are necessary for some undergraduates to succeed.

Sophia Triffon is in Dr. Koonce’s English class, and made it clear to the rest of her classmates that the potluck needed to happen. Awkward or not, food brings anyone together.

“Oh yeah, I told people what to bring. Everyone is bringing a dish so there will be lots of food and so that Dr. Koonce won’t have to cook everything,” Triffon says.

Because even though students are frazzled, professors are too, and they still go out of their way to create exciting events for students to participate in. Whether it’s a hike to appreciate springtime in Athens, a granola-making party or a simple trip for an ice cream cone, these little adventures help alleviate a lot of stress for both parties involved.