Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm waiting on an advisee, who's now just over 10 minutes late.

At some point in my career, I heard there were rules about how long students were supposed to wait if a prof were late for class, depending on the prof's rank. I don't think most students are that aware of rank, much less of rules about waiting.

I'm not sure how long I should wait, but given the student's troubles, I'm willing to give him/her a bit more time before getting cranky.

And I stupidly left my second cup of coffee for the morning behind in the travel cup, sitting forlornly on the counter.


I hate not knowing the rules in situations. For example, there are whole sets of rules in places like colleges and the people who inhabit those places know the rules, or have adopted them without thinking about them. But for those who don't know the rules, they aren't at all obvious.

An easy one is classroom seating. Every student who walks into a classroom has been taught since forever (in movies and TV, even if s/he's homeschooled and not spent much time in a classroom) that students sit down in the seats, and instructors stand at the front. Only instructors are allowed to write on the board or give permission for someone else to write on the board. (Those ever-present announcements are generally put up between classes or late in the evenings when there aren't classes in session.) We don't even recognize these rules as rules because they're become ideological.

Then there's the who enters the office rules, which probably vary by place. I leave my office door open, and there are chairs in there. But I very much expect that no one will go in and sit down without my express permission, even if they have an appointment with me in a few minutes. Students don't usually go in unless they have an appointment, but I have had a few go in and sit down ahead of time if I stepped out. I'm always shocked. It's not like they're rampaging over the place, but it still seems weird to me.


Banks have lots of rules. And today, I'm trying to figure out stuff. I recently signed a new mortgage. And last week, it was supposed to kick in. So now I need to get things lined up so I can make automatic payments and such, and link my credit card, and blah blah. So I called the bank and tried, but after hitting about 22 buttons that are supposed to help the bank system serve me better, I got a message that the bank couldn't help me and I needed to hang up. I think the problem may be that I don't have the new mortgage number yet, and need it to get them to find the new mortgage.

And I need to call again, but I don't want to be on the phone when the student comes.

I have looked at some web sites. I have no idea on the bird of the day over at GrrlScientist.

I wish I knew what the heck was happening. Isn't there a rule for this sort of thing? It's now over an hour. I wrote the student an email.

The thing is, a student in this much trouble is in trouble, and that sort of trouble is likely to get in the way of meetings and such, if that makes sense.


  1. oh, no. things sound bad for your student. an hour is a very generous time to wait. the unofficial rule at my school was that if the prof wasn't there after 15 minutes, everyone assumed class was cancelled and left.

    in my grownup life, meetings might start as much as an hour late if someone is coming from out of town or gets stuck somewhere, but we usually get a frantic call with an estimated time of arrival.

    bleah, i'm currently in FAFSA hell -- late putting together the damned thing for daughter's senior year. [but she doesn't start 'till september!] the online application destroys me every single year. there is always something, like forgotten pin numbers and the need for both me and her to sign off on it. last year we got through the whole process, and she *forgot* to accept her school's loan package, leading to all kinds of drama in october, when she was already overseas.

  2. I think 10 minutes is plenty long to wait for a student. An hour was very generous.

  3. Kathy A., I've heard nightmare stories about the fafsa stuff. I only had to do it once or twice, I think. (Because I'm old.)

    Terminal, well, I wish this student had come, even after an hour. I think she really needed an advisor.

  4. Anonymous2:21 PM

    I have a simple solution to handle the non-arrival of a student for an appointment: If they do not show up, or even call saying that they are stuck in traffic, or the like, then my rule is that they cannot have another appointment for a week -- No Exceptions! Once they learn that you mean it, they tend to show up. The reason that this is reasonable is because if a person misses appointments with other professionals, lawyers and physicians for example, that person still gets charged. As we do not charge for appointments, there still must be a cost for not showing up. I hope that this helps!