Today was the meetings where big shots talked. We have a campus breakfast, and then the talking begins with thanks to the corporate sponsors. It's no accident that the corporate sponsors are all represented by white men. Two banks and a car dealership, all represented by white men. The campus fund-raising folks, another corporate white male.
All but one of the head folks who spoke today, white male. The one exception was a faculty group leader. Go her.
The first meeting was all bad news, as expected. Cuts will be made, but we'll all get input into deciding who/what is cut. I'm guessing the white men at the top figure they'll do this fairly, after all, it's only about merit, right? They'll figure it out together while drinking single malt whiskey on the porch.
The second meeting was equally dismaying, mostly. Why do I even go to these?
We've identified a "new problem" on campus which wasn't recognized as a problem before for us, but is now recognized as a problem, four year graduation rates. Okay, so I can recognize that this is a problem from a couple points of view, but from others, not so much. Evidently the data related to this is one of the big new things colleges and universities are being judged by. I'd like to see the graduation rate data put up next to data about students who work off campus, first generation students, and students who are economically disadvantaged.
I made it through in four years, but I was one of few in my social group who did, even way back when. The biggest factor I could see was that my parents paid for my school, books, and room/board; my summer jobs and a part-time job for a year in college paid for other stuff. My friends weren't so lucky. I left my undergrad institution without debt; again, many of my friends weren't so lucky.
I left campus in a bad mood, and stopped at the grocery store on the way home. What I really wanted was to buy candy, or malt, or something. But I controlled myself.
I came home, took the guest dog out for a bit (she ran off to explore a neighbor's yard, surprising me with how fast her 17 year old self could run), and then sat on the couch to mope.
And while I was moping, I knew that if I could only get myself out on my bike for even a short ride, I'd feel better.
I finally did, planning only to go for an easy ride on the trail, but remembering that half the city streets on the way there and back are torn up and detoured, I decided to park at the swimming pool park and go south of town.
And you know, once I got started, I did feel good. I felt so good that I did ten miles out, and ten back. At the ten mile point, working fairly hard, I had an average of 16.1 mph, which is pretty fair for me. I decided to try harder for a while, at least, until I was too tired, on the way back. But then, about four miles from the end, I saw a biker in front of me, and I decided to try to catch the other biker.
Now, I've been known to put big energy into chasing another biker only to find that it's a fancy mailbox, and I barely caught it anyway. But today, this biker was the perfect pacer for me, and inspired me to push a whole lot harder than I would have otherwise. And just after the crest of the second to last hill, I passed her.
And yes, my bike did make me feel a whole lot less mopey and unhappy for the evening. Thank you, bike.