Sunday, October 30, 2011

Summer Job

There are times when I'm confronted by my own snobbery. Here's one.

There's a summer job orienting incoming students and so forth. I'm interested because living in the UK has taken a bit more money than I'd budgeted for and our pay cut has hit, too. Between the two, a bit of summer income would be more welcome than usual. This job pays about the same as teaching a class. (I could have put in a request to teach a class, but I didn't think of it in a timely enough manner. Stupid me.)

But, this job involves working for the non-academic side of campus, the folks who bring us the wonders of alcohol awareness and other stimulating programs. (See, I told you I'm a snob.) It also involves an application form with inviting questions about why you want the job (MONEY!). Of course, you're supposed to write in the usual bullputty an enthusiastic explanation of how committed you are to seeing that undergraduates get the best start ever to their college experience (it's no longer a college career, but an experience).

It also involves questions about your qualifications to be an advisor. Then there's the one about how I want my advisees to view me. Seriously? I want them to view me as a goddess of all things to do with early modern literature, someone whose brilliance is equalled only by her wit and beauty. I don't think any of them will view me that way, but I'd really like it if they did.

But my favorite question is about what I think students think are the most significant issues for their college experience. It's not about what I think are the most significant issues, or what research shows are the most significant issues, but what students think.

Me, I'd put studying hard and using birth control high on the list, along with paying attention in class and participating in college life. I might also put sleeping enough and eating decently.

Students, I'm guessing they put making friends high, along with choosing a major, and, truth be told, getting as drunk as possible without getting arrested or hospitalized.

I'm guessing research would show that they should also be concerned about student loans and debt. And I'm sure some of them are appropriately concerned about debt and such.

What's on your list, and what do you think is on most students' lists?

I have to look at the calendar and really think about whether the money is worth it to me to kowtow to the other side of campus. (And then, of course, there's always the horrifying possibility that they would turn me down. Talk about depressing.)


  1. you've definitely put together a good list.

    one difficulty is that students don't know yet what will be a problem, or vexing. they have not done this before -- many might not admit it, but that is a huge concern of incoming students, even the ones who act like they know everything already. so, they need to know what to expect in the wide range of things academic, personal, and mundane; and [this might be on a student's list] that there are places to get help for whatever happens.

    and also, they will also be expected to handle parts of their lives for which they may not previously had responsibility. budgeting time and expenses, for example. there will be no backup parental alarm clock, and no laundry fairy, grocery fairy, light bulb fairy, or computer magician on call. possibly incoming students have not thought of these things among many others.

  2. Now, if I were applying for something like this, I would actually say, "Seriously? I want them to view me as a goddess of all things to do with early modern literature, someone whose brilliance is equalled only by her wit and beauty. I don't think any of them will view me that way, but I'd really like it if they did." And then we'd see if anyone has a sense of humor. Sometimes they do, and if they don't, do you need the money that badly?

    Of course, I am the queen of bad attitude.

  3. I'd add to your list of things students should worry about like loans and debt: developing TRANSFERABLE skills. And learning to transfer them....

  4. off topic, but you really need to see this if you have missed it, being The Bardiac and all.

  5. I feel the EXACT same way about students. I had to do a stint in college where I'd grade papers, edit dissertations, and develop essays.

    It paid my way -- so I'd definitely think about it.

    *ahem* But I'm glad it's over ...

  6. My students seem to be concerned with employment after college. (They are often 1st-generation college students and looking for a better economic situation than what their parents have. Fair enough!) They are also concerned with managing finances, time, being away from home (this is such a foreign idea to me...I WANTED to leave home!), dealing with roommates, and dealing with stress.

    Mine also have no idea how to study and manage their schedules. We spend a lot of the first semester working on those skills.