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.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not to Worry!

Although I am not teaching until June, I have a part-time job helping out with the incoming freshmen and their orientation and scheduling program. No doubt this will provide lots of blog fodder.

How do I know this? Weirdly (to me, anyway), I did a very similar job eleven years ago as part of my practicum requirements for my master's degree. I worked the summer as an academic advisor/scheduling assistant for the freshman orientation program at another college. I should have guessed those eleven years ago that college was just a four-year all-expenses paid (by parents and student loans) vacation. My job was to help the freshmen hammer out their very first college semester schedule. I had strict instructions to let no soon-to-be-freshman walk away without a schedule. Another important piece of information - this college was the opposite of a commuter campus. Nowhere within hours to commute from. These kids were very traditional 18-year-old freshman students. So, it's not like I was trying to help 34-year-old single moms with full-time jobs juggle their first college semester. (You'll see why this tidbit of info is important in a minute). And also? This was back in the day of ye-olde-fashioned scheduling. Without computers. And with people standing in long lines. And big ledgers. I don't know how we did it. Anywho, the day I realized higher education in America meant very little to those who were participating in it? It went like this:

Me: Hello. Welcome to Moron U! Do you have your potential schedule ready?
Recent high school graduate: Yeah, I know what I wanna take.
Me: Okay, great. Let's see here . . . Hmm . . . oh, I'm sorry. That section of Public Speaking 101 is closed already. But - great news! Here's another section that's open and it fits in your schedule perfectly.
Me: What?
Me: Why not?
RHSG: I don't want to take any night classes. My mom doesn't want me walking around campus alone at night.
Me: I can certainly understand that. However, the campus has a wonderful security department and if you call this free number, they'll walk you wherever you need to go, any hour, day or night!
Me: All, um, all right, then. Oh! Even better! There is one more section open - it meets from 9:55 - 11:00 in the morning.
Me: Why not?
RHSG: I'm not taking any classes before 11:00 a.m. My sister said morning classes are for losers.
Me: Ah, yes, well, I see. However, it is near the end of the summer, which means 3,500 freshmen have already registered and there just aren't that many entry level courses left. Beggars can't be choosers, kind of, you know? But when you're a senior? Oh, just wait. Life will be fabulous.
Me: (All the while feeling the hairy eyeballs of 200 freshmen waiting in line to register for their classes) Oh thank you sweet Lord! Here is a section of the same class, it fits in your schedule and it meets from 4:55 - 6:00 p.m.
Me: What's the problem with this one?
RHSG: I'm not taking any classes after 4:00 p.m.
Me: Well, I hate to tell you, but that's kind of unrealistic given your other scheduling, um, constraints.
Me: Remind me to buy you a Thesaurus before you go, okay?
Me: Wait. I have it. Perfect. Noon - 2:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Me: Aw, Christ hangin' off the cross. Why the hell not?!?
RHSG: I'm not taking any Friday classes.
Me: Okay, let's forget about Public Speaking for the moment. You need to take your liberal arts requirements. Here's one I recommend to a lot of the freshmen. There are sections open and it fits within your scheduling constraints. It's called Great Books.
RHSG: There's not a lot of reading required, is there?
Me: Well, since it's not called Great Comic Books or Great Television Shows, I'm guessing that yes, there will be some reading involved.
RHSG: I don't want anything that has a lot of reading.
Me: Will you excuse me for one moment? I'm going to kill myself, but before I do, I'll send another advisor out to help you finish your schedule.


Blogger zygote daddy said...

Reason #837 the internet is a good thing:

Students get to figure out that choosing their schedule based on which classes meet Tues/Thurs between noon and 4:00 probably isn't the greatest strategy for academic success, without having to waste anyone else's time in the process. Oh, except their advisor's, the department secretary's, the financial aid office's, the career office's...

Every fall freshmen in every institution in the country try this incredibly immature and short-sighted strategy. One would think that EVENTUALLY new students would come to realize that it just. does. not. work. Ever.

May 19, 2006 12:59 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

Christ hangin' off the cross?! Just may have to lift that line.

I once had a student tell me that she couldn't come to our Monday class. It met Monday and Wednesday. Essentially, she wanted to miss half the classes and not be penalized. Supposedly, her mother was sick. But apparently only on Mondays. I don't know. The kicker? This class was team taught, and the first instructor ACTUALLY OKAYED THIS!! Talk about looking like an idiot, this class is famous for implying that the TAs are in charge, yet the instructors constantly went around us. Students too. Sigh. I mean, honestly!! FRESHMEN!!

May 19, 2006 8:00 AM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

HA! If this were a play, I would love to play the student role. I'm pretty sure I could remember my lines that way.


TOO FUNNY! Can't wait to hear what the kids come up with THIS summer!

May 19, 2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Imagine if I told my Boss that. "Nope, sorry I 'm not working before 11 or after 4. and also I can't work on Fridays, I'm sure you understand." LOL

May 19, 2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger Schietto Sister said...

Please tell me that you are embellishing for comedic effect! I can hardly wait for your summer job to start (for humor therapy, of course.)

May 19, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

In the interest of academic honesty (or credit where credit is due), Lauren, I heard Kathy Griffin quote her mother saying, "Christ hangin' off the cross" on her new BRAVO special and I've decided it's my newest "Taking the name of the Lord in vain" phrase. So "lift" away - I've already done the "heavy lifting" for you. Now, I ask: Am I just as bad as my students? I stole someone else's work without citing my source. I guess I failed Blogging 101.

May 19, 2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Oh - and Schietto Sister - although I did not say, "Christ hangin' off the cross," everything else is true. True, true, true!!!! Also - I had my training this morning and based on what the director of the program told us, things have not changed. Although the addition of cell phones now means that while parents are at their orientation session, they call their beloved students in the advising center to make sure Timmy or Susie is getting treated right and getting the "Perfect Schedule."

May 19, 2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I went to your dept chair about this, and he said you could get an A for the blogging, cheating schmeating, and would you like a cup of hot cocoa?

May 19, 2006 5:41 PM  

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