I recently got the chance to go to Colorado Mesa University and sit on a panel of other graduates to talk about our current position and educational trajectory. This was a lot of fun for me for a few reasons, the least of which was not that, for me, talking to students and talking about my job are both a ton of fun.
Another reason I enjoy visiting alma mater though, is that I really enjoy catching up with the friends that I have teaching there. Many of these folks have been teaching at CMU since I studied there, and had a profound influence on my education and learning. Since it was a smaller school at the time, I always felt like I got to know them well enough to call them my friends. In addition to those folks though, are the new professors in the math department that I’ve gotten to know over the years. Even though I’ve only interacted with them on a professional level, I still enjoy visiting with them when I come to campus, as there’s always something new to talk about. Finally, there are the people that I knew before they were teachers, and now just enjoy getting the chance to catch up with them. Some of them, I’d make time to go see regardless, but it’s nice to have a single place to find them.
When I visit CMU though, it’s nice to find that not everything has changed. Sure, there are things that are different (the campus is a lot bigger, and there are more than a few new buildings,) but the culture (at least in CSMS) hasn’t shifted so radically as to be unrecognizable. Quite the opposite, in fact – even though there has been a lot of changes, it still feels like home.