Monday, March 2, 2015

Marathon Mondays

This semester I have a Monday Wednesday teaching schedule but my Mondays are true marathons with a morning class on Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, which is an hour and a quarter, and an afternoon seminar, on Advances in Variational Inequalities, Networks, and Game Theory, which is 2 hours and 45 minutes. I do a lot of lecturing in the latter class, although it is a seminar, because I want to make sure to bring all the students who come from different programs on campus to more or less the same level of knowledge.

So, do the math, the sum is 4 hours, which is exactly how long it takes me to run a marathon, which I have done several times in the past (no matter what my training was). I never, ever sit while lecturing.

I love the energy expended on teaching and the energy that I get from my students. Plus, when you have the opportunity to teach subjects that you are passionate about, the time flies (and, yes, many times we go over the time but there is so much to discuss and share).

I love face to face teaching and the interactions with students, which I would really miss if all the classes were online plus teaching is fabulous exercise if you do it right!

And being a professor is also good for your health.

In a study, "Postponed aging in university teachers," Kristjuhan and Taidre write that: In some population groups, human life expectancy is much higher compared to the average in the population, which can provide new hints to postpone aging and prolong life. Studies show that university professors have a later onset of age-related diseases compared with most population groups. Their productivity mostly increases up to their 60s and remains high for many years afterward. Aging processes appear later compared to the average in the population. Studies in Estonia have shown that university professors have 9 years longer life.

Operations research and economics have a good number of faculty that I have had the privilege of meeting and some even knowing that worked through their 80s and even part of their 90s (Professors George Dantzig, Kenneth Arrow, Leonid Hurwicz, Bill Cooper, Paul Samuelson, and Martin Beckmann, to start).   And unlike after running a marathon, in just a few days, if not hours, faculty are raring to go again!