Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Can't Have Everything?

The last two days in the advising center have been relatively uneventful. Just the way I like 'em. The students were really polite and sweet. I asked one student if he preferred Dan or Daniel. "Please, if you don't mind," he said apologetically, "Daniel." See? Sweet.

Except. There always has to be one. And of course, it always has to be the one who comes to my little advising station.

I should have known I was in trouble when the first thing the student said to me was, "I don't want you to enroll me here." I was worried. I don't have access to Harvard or Yale's registration system. She wanted me to enroll her at one of the branch campuses.

My school, like many - or most? - state schools has a few branch campuses. But you have to apply to them like they're a separate entity. Admission to main campus isn't like a Disney Park-Hopper pass. Typically, the branch campuses are like the junior college and then when you've proven yourself, you can come and play at the main campus with the big kids. People typically don't get admitted to the main campus with the goal of going to one of the branches eventually. That would be like going to Harvard for two years to prove yourself so eventually you could get into Yellow Springs Community College and Tech Center for Kids who Can't Read Good (sorry - couldn't resist an opportunity to quote Zoolander!) So I was confused. (What else is new, right?)

I told her I probably couldn't do that if she hadn't been admitted to the branch. "Did you apply there?" I asked. "No," she huffed. "I just thought I would get a better schedule there than I got here - this thing" she sniffed, while flicking the schedule with her fingertips, "Blows." I looked over it. I typed around in the computer. "Well, everything here is open and you're in all the classes you should have for your first semester. There's nothing before 9:00 a.m. and nothing after 4:00 p.m." I was hopeful. I thought we'd fix this big misunderstanding and there would be hugs all around.

But no. "Yeah, that's the problem. You see," she said, talking to me like I was just really stupid, "I have to work from 9 - 5, Monday through Friday." This was a new one. I was stumped. I mean, lots of hardworking citizens would love to go back to college and one of the reasons they can't (besides the ridiculous cost) is that pesky thing called a job. A J.O.B.

But I blundered on. "Did you mention it to your advisor?" I asked. "Well, yeah," she replied in a pitch perfect imitation of a Valley Girl. "Of course. And I guess it's just not going to happen here, so if you could register me for one of the branch campuses, that would be great." Well, Einstein, here's the deal: Since branch campuses have literally 1/5 the enrollment of the main campus, they have fewer offerings, not more. I kept this little nugget of info to myself, though.

"Okay, so, when, exactly, were you hoping to have your classes?" She rolled her eyes at me. "Not," she said (again, I knew she was dying to say "Duh!"), "Between 9 and 5." "So, before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m.?" "Right!" she said. "But one or the other, but not both because I don't want to be driving back and forth twice a day." Hmm . . . so that means,"All of your classes before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. And you're going full time?" Now I got the extreme glare with extra snark. "Ye-es!" in two syllables.

If I were truly a decent human being (which I'm not - I'm not pretending I am), I would have said, "Let's go get your advisor." Instead, I kind of wanted to be the one to break the news to her: You're not going to get an undergraduate degree, going full-time (5 classes a semester!) only taking classes in the early hours of the morning or after 5:00 p.m. If she were going into a graduate program, it's conceivable - she could take classes Monday - Thursday evenings; they meet once a week from 7:15 - 10:00 p.m. (Boy, are they fun!) But a bachelor's degree? No way!

"I think there probably aren't enough classes offered before 9:00 a.m. to meet your requirements. And, while there are a fair number of classes offered after 5:00 p.m., many of the freshman classes - for example, your freshman Calculus - are only offered during the day."

She really couldn't grasp this. It was her advisor's fault. And main campus's fault. And probably mine, although she didn't say this. "Fine," she bratted, "I'll just go to the branch campus!" and she took her rotten schedule that she hated and stomped off. Is it evil that I hope I see her again when she comes through the program a second time because the branch campus couldn't accommodate her either? No - don't answer that.



Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

I guess once upon a time i too figured that the world owed me something. I have since found out that is not the case. why is it that it is always someone elses fault? why can't these morons see that they might just have to bend a little? it's gonna be a rude awakening when the y get older and realize that you end up bending "everything" you want to do around your work schedule. and yes inevitably sometimes you have to take time off of work to get something done. Shit, I sure wish my work schedule was as simple as 9-5 monday-friday.

May 25, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

while on the one hand, i admire that she's trying to get a degree while working 9-5, i have to wonder if she's crazy or just plain dumb for trying it.

I so want to know which b-list school you're at right now!

May 25, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

I guess she can sell her encyclopedias now because apparently she already knows everything.

May 25, 2006 3:08 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it ain't just B-list schools. My friend had to teach an Expository Writing class at NYU a couple of years ago as part of her grad school/endentured servitude and encountered some of the same idiotic bullshit. Students not handing in work and then wondering why they failed, not doing re-writes, instead just handing in a fresh copy of the same C paper.

May 25, 2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Wow. That is extra-super alarming. Here's what I want to know: When I was in college (see - this is why Mr. J. says I'm old), I was quite the idiot. "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life" could have been said about me. Or to me. Anyway, I would take an exam and then get my score back and think one of two things: "Hmm. 82? Not bad for not cracking a book until the night before the exam," or "Hmm. 62. I guess that's what I get for not cracking a book the night before the exam." It never occurred to me to blame the professor - and it certainly never occurred to me to complain to the professor that his/her "study guide" (we didn't really get too many of those back in my day) was "Too overwhelming" and "Included too much information." Why is this attitude so pervasive? Anyone?

May 25, 2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Sense of Entitlement
False sense of Self Esteem

May 26, 2006 6:49 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

I think part of the problrm stems from our increasingly pathetic public school system. hell, in many states kids can Gradute High school who can't even read. if you look at this level of education across the entire spectrum of students, it's easy to see how even some of the best students are still not as bright as they could be with a better education. Jump forward to College. Colleges are mostly privately funded. the teaching staff is hired on strict educational criteria and the levelk of knowledge required to pass a college level course hasn't changed much. Most of the students you see would probably have benefited from some sort of college prep schooling.

May 26, 2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

It never occurred to me to blame the professor - and it certainly never occurred to me to complain to the professor that his/her "study guide" (we didn't really get too many of those back in my day) was "Too overwhelming" and "Included too much information."

I'm not sure where this attitude brews from, but I'm beginning to think it is instinctive. Possibly the result of global warming? Or even growth hormones in the nation's milk supply?

In any event, it comes from somewhere. This is one of my pet peeves and I've always made my kids stand up and take responsibility for their actions. Yet my oldest has come home brandishing this "it's the teacher's fault" attitude.

I swear it is concentrated in the school system. Maybe all that government surplus cheese they are putting on the macaroni in the lunch room is contaminated with entitlement germs.

May 26, 2006 11:07 AM  

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