QTF Advising: Or WWWTYT (Whats Wrong With The Youth Today)

I had mentioned that I should post on some of the highlights of my career as an academic advisor, and I will. But first I should mention a few things about this job.

In general I know what I like, and I know quick. When I worked as a landscape day laborer for an intense Buddhist man I knew with in two weeks that I wanted nothing to do with the job. (That story requires its own post) There comes a point with all of my jobs where after work I begin dreading the next day of work. It is a really terrible feeling.

However with this job that never happened. Possibly it’s the hash browns I eat while working in the morning, but I have not gotten sick of this job, perhaps it’s a calling… or something relatively close to a calling… that knows. Nonetheless there have been some fascinating academic altars to come through. I shall share a few QTF moments

Girl interested in Fashion Journalism:
(For annanimity I shall call her Brittany, and we shall call the advisor Ryan)
After Brittany made clear her interest in fashion journalism Ryan had to break the news to her. Politely he mentions that Journalism majors do not take any journalism courses their first semester, and if they could its closed. Brittany scrunches her face in a way that only incoming freshmen can, and looks down at her papers. Ryan goes into advising mode, “ There are a lot of great courses which are still open, lets find some things that your interested in.”
For Ryan’s first attempt he suggests the African Story Teller, in this course you read a wide variety of African stories, many of which the professor has himself compiled on walking trips around western South Africa. What’s not to like? Right? As soon as Ryan starts to explain the course Brittany’s face scrunches up again.

QFT “I don’t like Africa”

(It is worth pausing at this moment to consider the ramifications of this single phrase, I see two key elements, in one fell swoop of a statement our advise has dismissed a ENTIRE CONTINENT. Clearly we can deduce that in her mind there is really no difference between Egypt, Ghana, The Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. Second point of note, She didn’t say that she is not interested in Africa, she didn’t say that she doesn’t find African history intriguing, she said she didn’t LIKE Africa. What on earth does that mean. Is this a moral judgment on the continent, or is she saying she doesn’t enjoy the continent, WTF, a True QTF moment.) But back to the story.

Ryan, trying to wrap his head around Brittany’s truly profound comment tries another tactic. “What do you think about Comparative Government, You study” (Face initiates scrunching) “how world governments are similar and different? Second QTF moment ensues.

QTF “I’m not interested in other countries.”

(Again an aside, while I do give her credit from switching from the word “like” to “interested” we have still said a mouthful. To state her phrase in another way, as a positive we could say. “I am only interested in America”. WOW, if only she could have opened with that one when Ryan mentioned Africa, save us the time of considering any country other than the US of A…. Possibly she just needed to underline her dislike of Africa.)

Meanwhile, Ryan attempts to salvage the pieces, knowing full well that the university offers very few courses that deal strictly with America he tries to throw out some ideas, “How about a western Civ Class where you study Ancient (Scrunch) art and literature.” He goes on in an attempt to salvage her scrunching face. “You read the epic of Gilgimish and look at Mesopotamian pottery, then you read the tragedies and study Greek sculpture, finally you read Dante’s Inferno and explore the world of renaissance painting.” His efforts were however, in vain, for the phrase “Ancient” and already initiated the final QTF moment.

QTF “I don’t like old stuff”

(Aside: We have slipped back to the word like…. We are now using the word “stuff” and in one motion of the lips and the larynx we have dismissed all of history, classics, anthropology, and countless other fields. WOW…)

Left speechless, one of the fantastic academic deans jumped to Ryan’s defense. In the end she left happy, the Dean had convinced her that knowing Italian would be a crucial skill for the fashion world. Dean, you know who you are, and all the advisors out there owe you a debt of gratitude.

Stepping back we should consider all of the QTF moments as a mathematical equation.

QTF “I’m not interested in other countries”
+QTF “I don’t like old Stuff
= Only America Now….
(We wonder why our nation has problems in the World)

Oh and I forgot, When we multiply “Only America Now” by “I don’t like Africa” we get a tangy mixture of a total jack ass with a minor slightly racist after taste…

With all that said, I really do like my job, in part because I like stories. Other moments of note, Letters of recommendation for college applications written in comic sans with no header, the letter just starts, and is not on any kind of letterhead, or even nice paper. Also, Personal statements about how Sport X made you triumph over adversity… I have read this one a thousand times. Finally, everyone’s favorite, letters of rec riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, not on letter head, and addressed to the wrong college. Welcome to the world of Highly Selective Colleges my friends…..

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