Hello fellow graduates (perhaps some recently new ones…congrats!). It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the page as FINALS were happening. But those dark days are past and now a graduate can look forward to an easy, breezy (but mostly humid and rainy) Boston summer, only peppered with the occasional class.
There’s not much in terms of my life to talk about, though some events that happened over the past week are worth sharing. I had a major allergic reaction to something about two weeks ago (I have to wait about a month to get tested for what exactly) and I was in and out of the hospital and doctor’s office for about a week. And it was a bitch! Not the allergic reaction bit (that was just itchy), but driving back and forth from Connecticut and Boston. Graduates, some advice: If and when you relocate to a new city, do yourself a favour and make one of your first tasks finding a primary care physician. You won’t want to do this when your sick and you have to make like…9000 calls to insurance and doctors to make sure that your ass is covered…literally… I made the mistake of never doing this and was forced to head back to CT to deal with this allergic reaction, which meant I missed days of work and had to pay dollars for gasoline.
But I’m better now and that’s all that matters. Now, I want to touch on graduate school. Often I will gripe about my job and the people I work with on this blog, but I’m also a Nefarious Graduate in the sense that I’m back in school, as a graduate student, not just a student who graduated from college. These days it seems like a college degree is as common as a high school diploma and what used to mean you were qualified 20 years ago, just makes you average now. Many of my friends have gone back to grad school, most for the reason that a college degree doesn’t mean anything nowadays (most of my friends are also liberal arts majors…perhaps these two things are related…you decide). I am fortunate enough that my parents were able to pay for my pricey liberal arts undergraduate education and my dad is loaning me the money to pay for graduate school. But now that I’m paying for my classes, I realize that the quality of the classes really matters to me. With each class costing something around $1600, I actually care if I feel like I’m not learning anything. Especially when you’re taking classes to be an educator there’s something to be said if an instructor is a poor educator himself.
This was a problem my classmates and I had with one professor this past semester. I actually can’t complain, because I got an A in the class, but the work was busy work, the discussions were there only to provoke more discussion and confrontation, and the teacher was confusing, gave out more handouts than was necessary, and had no idea what the real point of the class was. I learned more from doing the reading for this professor’s class than I did from attending the lectures. I want to get what I’m paying for and this just wasn’t worth my money. But even more irksome is that I want to be prepared when I get in front of a class on the first day of school in a year and a half. This particular class was “Issues in Teaching and Learning for Middle/High School Teachers”. That’s a pretty important chunk of curriculum I can’t be wasting my time drawing little diagrams with a stick figure in the middle and making bullet points around said figure about how I’ll “feel” as a teacher. I mean, there’s nothing I can do, because I need to take that class to graduate, but you know it’s bad when the whole class is just like “Retire, dude!”
Just an example of this professor’s incompetence: At the very beginning of the semester I informed him that I often come to class straight from work. Sometimes, especially if there is little coverage, I have to stay later than intended. This means I may be 10-20 minutes late. He said “No big deal! I understand. You kids got to make a living”. Done deal, right. Wrong. So wrong. About two weeks later he asked me why I was late. I explained it to him again and got the same response. I figured it would be in his head by now. Nope. Still wrong. About 3 weeks before the end of the semester I get an e-mail from the professor asking me why I’m always late to class. So I write out a thorough e-mail (about 3 paragraphs long) explaining it all in very minute detail. I get the response of “Oh. Ok. There was no need to send such a long e-mail”. This is what my $1600 pays for.
My only response to this is academia’s a bitch, bro.
On my final note, I like to interview other nefarious graduates who have interesting careers or life choices. I did this a couple months back with Elise Francesca, the creator of Francesca Joy Palm Beach. Now I’m going to do it again. This time with my good friend Gabriel Colby, of C Street Brass who are the artists in residence at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s a pretty cool dude and makes classical music really fun. That interview will be my next post, sometime later this week, but in the meantime I want to pump up his cause before I post the interview. He and his group C Street Brass are trying to get to Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) to take part in the Traveling Notes Festival and they are using kickstarter.com to raise money for their airfare. So you guys should take a minute and click the link and help a fellow graduate out. At least watch the video, as the background music is phenomenal and the video to promote their cause is very well made and highly entertaining.
Catch you on the flip side! And a song for you: