Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The return of Academic Water Cooler Theater

As the Fall begins and so many new students are getting their first experience of college, the following scenario has been played out over the last few months.

The scene: A fresh-faced National Merit Scholar (NMS) meets with an advisor to set her fall schedule. 

Well Meaning Advisor (WMA): "You've got some good courses picked out but you need to go ahead and take the ONE, and ONLY, Math course required for your major.  Take it now. The longer you wait the more you'll regret it later.  Math isn't something like riding a bicycle.  You don't use those skills 'every day' so the longer you put it off, the more you'll forget. [Aside through the fourth wall: "...of what little you actually gleaned from high school."]

National Merit Scholar (NMS): "But like, I don't like Math.  Do I have to?  I just want, like, a break from it."

WMA: "I'm telling you; the longer you wait the tougher it's going to be."

NMS: "Hmm.  I don't think any of the Math courses will fit into my schedule because I really need to take 'Intro to This' with Kimberly this semester.  We went to high school together, you know?"

WMA: "There's other times available for Math.  Look.  Here's one that fits right between 'Intro to This' and 'General That.'"

NMS: "Umm.  That won't work.  I have something else to do then.  I'll take Math next semester.  Really. I promise."

WMA: "I can't make you take Math this semester, but you need to know you'll have to have it.  I strongly recommend getting it out of the way."

NMS:  "Nah.  This being my first semester, I don't want anything too hard."

WMA: "Just know that you'll have to have it eventually."

NMS:  "Oh, I know.  I also know I can do Math but I just don't want to this semester."

WMA:  "Don't wait until you're about to graduate to take Math.  I've seen it happen too often that a
NMS such as yourself will put off Math until their last semester and end up struggling in it or even failing it."

NMS:  "I won't wait.  I'll do it just as soon as I can fit into my schedule."

Time passes. It is now the registration period before her last semester.  NMS is going over her degree plan with a Faculty Advisor.
FA:  "Everything seems to be in order, Former National Merit Scholar now Fair-to-Middling College Student, except you need a Math course to complete all your degree requirements."

FNMSnFMCS: "Math?!  No one told me I needed Math!  I haven't done in Math since high school.  At least it's a freshman level course so it'll be a blow-off since I hate Math anyway."

FNMSnFMCS leaves.

FA: "Those dirty, well-meaning advisors.  Why don't they tell students they need Math their first semester? They sure aren't doing them or us any favors over there."
Apply.  Rinse.  Repeat.

-- Sawyer in Student Services


  1. This is what happened to Nando:

    "Five years ago today, I posted my first blog entry regarding the law school scam. Now, after 406 posts and over 3 million page views, I am proud to see that this site has helped cause a large decrease in U.S. law school enrollment. It has been great to be part of such a just cause and noble movement. After seeing the following development – featuring the laughingstock of American “legal education” – I am leaning towards winding this blog down in the next few months.

    In the last year, my physical health had declined, and I have worked extremely hard to get back on track. I also recently received good news, regarding a biopsy. However, maintaining this site has become a chore. I realize that I need to focus more on things that are truly important. If I decide to stop blogging on this topic, then I need you guys to continue the fight. Get off your asses and expose this filthy, vile industry and the swine involved – since they have collectively and willingly destroyed so many lives, for their own personal gain. Thank you for your support, and for informing others about this scam."

    And he he is again in the comments:

    ".....By the way, I am not on my death bed, guys. In the last year, I have been sicker than normal – and I experienced several weight gains and losses of 10 pounds, which is very unusual for me. Plus, maintaining this blog has nearly become a second job. In the past, I thoroughly enjoyed profiling these ABA-accredited dung pits. Now, I occasionally post out of a sense of obligation.

    If I decide to wind down this site, I plan to keep the entries up for posterity. I may post when something major occurs, such as a law school closing its doors. In the end, it is much more important for me to take care of my kid than to keep sandblasting these toilets and individual law school pigs several times a month. Thank you for your support. I know that someone – or a group of dedicated people – will take up the flag and keep the heat on these bastards.

    I feel that I have done a solid job of furthering the work of L4L/Skadden Farts, Loyola 2L, Tom the Temp, unperson, Jobless JD, BIDER and others. Paul Campos, Brian Tamanaha and David Segal of the New York Times took this movement to another level, when they documented the law school scam. Once they weighed in, the academic thieves were on the ropes. I am proud to have pummeled these vile pigs relentlessly, with the facts and invective, for the last five years."

  2. I keep repeating to my students about how lousy the job market is in astronomy, until they yell at me. Then I stop.