So, as of yesterday, I have been a NOVA for a week, and so far it seems rather nice. My mom and my Todd, trekked out with me on the joyful 14 hour drive last Saturday. I thought it would be a pain in the neck, but it was really kind of neat. (Note: Pennsylvania looks like a nice place) Mom and Todd stayed out here for a week, it was a slightly surreal experience. Spending half the day packing and half the day as a tourist with them. We toured the Washington monument, the supreme court, and the capitol. We visited Arlington national cemetery, saw the home of General Lee, and saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown solider. We toured National Public Radio, and got a tour of Marjee’s work at PBS, and we spent some time walking around Georgetown. As you can see from the list it was a busy week. I had a blast, and I think mom and Todd enjoyed it.
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…..
Everyone has a birthday, the day that set your self in motion on this earth. But there are certain choices we make, specific actions we take, that were set in motion during a specific moment. For instance, when I held a nervous little quail in my hands for a physiology lab, ready to induce the poor thing with diabetes, my vegetarian self was born. Watching my mother be a laborer for a huge company, my non-profit self was born.
It is interesting for me to consider those very mundane moments which mark the birthday of a part of yourself that is now monumental. The idea that events come to be indelible marks on your identity is by no means novel — it’s very Freudian (and I don’t like Freud). But I was used to thinking of these self-changing events as being enormous; day-time talk show worthy. But they aren’t. Sometimes it’s just the fact that you have shrugged your shoulders in indifference 7 times that hour and realized, “this isn’t how it should be.” Sometimes someone has been talking for 20 minutes straight and you have thought “whatever” for the 14th time. And meant it. Whatever.
This morning as I stood in the Virginia sun-shine of my south-facing window in a high-rise overlooking the world, I walked across my large bedroom and remembered that I was here because of disappointment. This me was born through a series of small, yawn inducing disappointments. A series of boring meetings that go no where can launch you 800 miles away and 15 stories in the air. For months, I saw that people I admired were not all that admirable. I saw that a system I was trying so hard to be a part of was kind of lame. I saw indecision, lack of interest, insecurity, uncertainty. I saw a lack of curiosity. I saw that maybe I didn’t belong.
The indolence of others can expedite revolution in their brothers.
And so I revolted, grabbed Trevor’s hand and asked if he thought there was something happening somewhere else, and would he come with me to look? I’m so glad he did. I think comfort is what you shoot for when your vision is gone and your hips are bad. In the mean time, make changes. If you don’t, life will make them for you anyway.
Well Marjee has been off in Dc for a two weeks. She should post about that. I on the other hand am living in limbo. Typing on a computer on my floor, and sleeping on a futon, also on the floor, waiting out my job. Needless to say I will be excited to be out in Arlington. Of course I will miss mad town, but it’s like my life has already moved to DC with my girl friend and all of our belongings. I am just waiting out in this shell of a home, perpetually saying good-bye to our friends. Rereading this it all sounds a bit more glum than I would have intended. I really do enjoy this kind of long see you soon (I don’t really do Good byes) Well I should get to sleep. Two more days as a Academic Advisor. (Which reminds me I should post on some of the hilarious moments while their still fresh… It just might not be as hard to get into Madison as we all thought…)
So this is a accurate post to start our blog about our lives in DC. After a quick jaunt to the DC metropolitan area we have found our new place of residence.
At the Lenox. It looks like it will be a nice place to live. Just a few blocks from Marjee’s new job at PBS.Now all that stands between us and DC is packing an apartment and coordinating a rental truck….