2

Undergrads These Days

So, this weekend I’m heading up to Eau Claire for the APO Sectionals conference, where I’m teaching 2 workshops on varying topics to (hopefully) a bunch of undergrads.

What’s really getting to me, though, is just how busy these undergrads are. Or seem to be.

I know that college students are at that age where they don’t yet know the meaning of commitment, or how to balance a cost/benefit ratio in life, but I think that it’s somehow gotten worse. Initially, 33 people from the chapter signed up to go to the conference this weekend, and now I think we’ll be lucky if even 15 make it. And there are some other groups that are not going at all, somewhat due to drivers/cost but mostly because of the all-too-vague “I’m busy.”

I mean, seriously. Too busy to take a weekend to have fun, learn, get a change of scenery, and study if you have a spare moment.

I know that school comes first, but usually, the phrase is followed by “I have an exam this week.” Only, it seems like I hear this from someone every week, for one reason or another. In the course I teach, we have just 2 exams – a midterm and a final – and I don’t think that either of them would require a student to spend 48 hours studying. But it seems like all these undergrads, whether they be in APO or students I teach, are constantly having exams in all their other classes, usually math and hard sciences. I constantly get emails from students who were absent that week saying that they had an exam right before and were tired after, or had an exam right after and studied all day right up until the exam started. One student emailed us saying that he had 3 exams in one day.

What is with all these exams? Why do they need to exist?

At this point, I try to put myself in the shoes of an undergrad, thinking back to my undergrad days, which were almost a decade ago. Granted, I did not have much of a social life, but I don’t ever remember having a constant barrage of exams, or a weekend where all I did was study. In fact, to this day, in my ten years of being a student in higher education, I have never even pulled an all-nighter. I remember doing some homework on weekends, but I usually spent at least 1 weekend a semester out of town, like the time I flew down to Baltimore for a play premiere, or when I drove to New York City and back in 48 hours to go to my aunt’s wedding. I worked a lot, and I worked hard, but I managed to have down time in there, which is why I did get down on myself a lot.

But that’s beside the point.

To this end, I look back even further, to my freshman year. I was leaning towards majoring in theater, but I still took the requisite English and Math courses. At the same time, my sister was a junior, majoring in early childhood education. I still remember talking on the phone with my parents my second semester, and my dad told me that I seemed to be working harder as a freshman than my sister had in her three years thus far. Granted, she didn’t graduate with a 3.5 GPA like I did, and she had this thing where she wanted to see how long she could go without going to the library (turns out that she never even set foot in the campus library, in all four years). Still, she got a job offer in her field, right out of college, and has had it ever since. Even though I only graduated with a 3.5, and granted, I didn’t get my dream job, I still somehow managed to muddle through, get my master’s and into my Ph.D. program. Both of the above outcomes, working world and higher ed, were feasible without constant studying or an all-nighter.

So, I don’t know what today’s college students’ excuses are. Unless my sister and I had the world’s easiest majors (which we probably did not) or were complete slackers, it seems to me that undergrads are working harder, and with the way this economy is going, probably for even less satisfying results.

I’m almost at that age where I say “kids these days…” with a dubious look, but something is definitely going on with today’s college students, whether it’s a lack of study skills or just a generation of vindictive professors.

4

Call Your Doctor if Your Annoyance Lasts for More Than Four Hours

Maybe it’s a function of watching reruns on Hallmark every night, but I’m getting so tired of seeing commercial after commercial advertising medicines. All with phone numbers and “please call your doctor.”

I mean, what is this all about? These commercials have been around for so long, and yet I don’t think I’ve met a single person who got on a medication after seeing it on a TV commercial. Well, I don’t think I’d know, but I feel like the kind of person who’d have done that is also the kind of person who would tell you about it.

Plus, there’s that gentle female voice reading you a laundry list of symptoms that sounds like a graduation ceremony at a private school for diseases. The commercial I saw tonight that got me thinking about this was for some anti-diabetic medicine, whose list of symptoms was so long and rushed that it took up the majority of the airtime. And what’s with all the background stock footage? A couple walking on a beach? An old man and a little boy fishing off a pier? A girl at her first piano recital? What do any of those have to do with anything?

Also, I hope you caught SNL last week, there was a bit starring Octavia Spencer, Leslie Jones, and Sasheer Zamata on medicine names. Sasheer played a character called Seasonique with a son named Dayquil. Who comes up with these things?

Anyway, now I’ve got a headache. Please excuse me while I get something to treat it. And by something, I mean a nice cold drink.

6

Need A Cure for Kicking the TV Habit? Get Sick

Hey y’all, or as my immune system might say, “hnff heck hack.”

It wasn’t working in a germ factory, or even going out with a wet head that got me congested and sniffly, but I think it might have had to do with some spicy fries I ate on Saturday night after Salsa Saturday and could still taste Sunday afternoon. Ever since then, I’ve been mostly just sniffling, with a few minor coughs and a sneeze here and there. It feels like I have water in my nose, and that my eyes just want to close. I’m not sure that it’s a sore throat, because cough drops only irritated it more. Today, while teaching my first class, I had a fit of hacking, at the end of which I pronounced “brb, dying,” and after one or two more coughs, pronounced myself dead.

But hey, when you’re teaching Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd, it works.

Anyway, all I wanted to do after I got home from school and meetings was to lie down on the couch and watch TV.

Except…

THERE’S. NOTHING. ON.

I flip through channels, and go through the TV guide, and…nothing appealing. When I’m well, there are all sorts of things that I’d like to watch but either don’t have the time to or just forget about. But of course, when I want to relax and watch something good, all that’s on: sports, weather, news, infomercials, crappy Christmas movies (which could be its own generator, future post idea!), televangelists, murder dramas, pointless reality shows, and whatever’s on the Spanish channel.

I could go to bed early, or read or lesson plan or something, but I think I’ll just write a blog post about it and see where it goes.

7

Things I’m Sick of Hearing

This might develop into a series, but I’m pretty serious…it’s been a stressful week and I’ve discovered that my patience is already beginning to wear thin, despite being just the second week of school.

On The Phone

“Say that again?” – I don’t mumble, I speak clearly and actually usually a little too loudly into the phone, so either turn your volume up or pay attention because I’m pretty sure they can hear me in Connecticut.

In The Classroom

Can we play Sugar Salt? No. We cannot and we will never play that game, ever, again.

I have four things to say. No. One. Just choose one.

Can I please go to the bathroom? You went twenty minutes ago, and we have a break in another twenty, and you’re eight. You don’t need to.

I don’t want to play. Fine, go off to military school.

At the Jewelry Stand

When are you open again? Never. If you don’t buy it today, you will never see us again.

How much longer are you open for? I don’t know, are you planning on buying anything?

I’ll come back later. THAT’S A LIE. Never once has someone come back later.

How much for the dog? No. No. SHUT UP AND GET OUT. Seriously. He’s our pet. It wasn’t funny the first time I heard it, and it hasn’t been funny ever since.

Here’s what I want to say in response to that inane question, but can’t:

  • We sell jewelry, not animals.
  • I don’t know. How much for your firstborn child?
  • You are so clever! I have never had anybody ask that before! How ever did you come up with that?
  • Bad joke, you owe me twenty dollars.
  • Buy some jewelry now because you’re getting on my nerves.
  • SHUT UP AND GET AWAY FROM THE STAND AND OUT OF MY LIFE FOREVER.
2

Shame on You, Archer Farms Bagged Vegetables

So, earlier this week, Archer Farms bagged veggies were on sale at Target, so I bought some and made them. I usually have pretty good luck with store-bought bagged veggies, but these…

Were VILE.

First, I tried the broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix. It smelled rancid after I cooked it, and too foul to eat. I had to toss it in the trash immediately. When I went out and came back later, I wanted to apologize to my entire floor for stinking it up with gross rancid vegetables.

And today, sweet potatoes. They looked okay in the bag, and when I heated them up, they didn’t smell too bad. But when I tasted them…

Sticky. Hard. Gross.

I bought Mann’s organic veggies and made them, and they tasted fantastic. Or at least what bagged vegetables in the microwave should taste like.

Ugh. Healthy eating should be less risky than this.

26

Should You Be Posting That On Facebook?

I haven’t been in too much of a rant-y mood in a while, and while there is way too much anger in the world, I just have to get this off my chest. Call it a cross between a rant and a Staying-In-And-Getting-Real night, even though I’ve actually only been home for only about an hour.

I’ve made several posts in the past about my pet peeve with social media.

But now, I think that it’s just gone too far.

Not that it had too much farther to go.

In my opinion, once you’re at a certain age or place in life, you shouldn’t be posting stupid stuff. I’m not talking about pictures of dogs with their heads stuck in lawn chairs, I’m talking about statements that demonize human beings, whether individual or an entire population. It used to be that only politicians did it; now everyone’s got their own soapbox and megaphone, and most of what they yell is complete and utter garbage. And most of the time, it’s not like they stand by any of it or believe in it or do anything to take action about it; they just want to attract attention to themselves. A “friend” of mine recently posted a photo of two people walking in a parade in Native American headdresses, with the caption, “name what’s wrong with this picture.” What wrong with the picture is that no one cares, and leave them alone to deal with anything themselves because it’s none of your business.

The worst part of it was that this person was another graduate student, just like me. Not trying to get too judgmental here, but when you’re an undergrad, or a kid, or are a professional parodist, you can get away with posting stuff like that. But if you have a reputation to uphold, or you want one, you just can’t post stuff like that on Facebook. I learned that the hard way. I posted a few things that raised some eyebrows among people I knew both online and in real life, and I faced a certain amount of consequences for being stupid. It wasn’t anything political, and some of what I wrote did reflect how I felt at the time, but in hindsight, it wasn’t something that needed to be shared. And even some times when I do write something that I don’t see a problem with, someone else might, and then it’s up to me to judge how I feel about it. Even if you don’t think anyone is going to read it, the person you least want to will probably end up seeing it.

I could post about how “inappropriate” post X is, but instead, I chose to “hide news feed” from those friends who post things that are ad hominem, ad feminem, antagonistic, hateful, or just plain stupid, while still remaining friends with them. Suddenly, I felt so much better. At this point, I’d rather see pictures of cute babies or animals.

Oh, and I got my 36,000th revolver map visitor today, from London.

5

That’s Not My Face

Warning: rant ahead.

So I have this one friend, who happens to not be white (okay that sounds weird, kind of like I only have one non-white friend, which is actually not the case), and every time there is a young white male in the news, he always goes “you look like you could be [person in the news]’s twin/older brother/cousin.”

I have told him time and time again, I know that yes, it’s a stereotype that all Asians look the same, but I do not look like all or any of these people. Seriously. He’s compared me to everyone from Josh Duggar to some guy he met on the bus, and yesterday, he told me that I could be Brock Turner’s older brother. Despite the fact that we look absolutely. Nothing. Alike. If it’s a joke, it’s gotten way too annoying, but still, no.

That’s probably one of the least flattering things anyone’s ever said to me.