Academic Monuments  

I finally met my new office mate after three weeks of school being officially over. He seems like a very interesting person who wants to focus his English studies in film, which, as far as I am concerned right now, seems about as good as anything. I need to figure out this whole program of English study for myself sooner rather than later. I am still interested in books, but I hardly have time to read anything outside of what I'm assigned. I can't imagine having the time to watch a bunch of films, even if they are for a class I am taking. At this exact moment, I have about two hundred pages of rather dense material to get through of The New Rhetoric, a long treatise on the nature of rhetoric. I think I can follow most of it, but it is testing my ability to concentrate on the subject.

Anyway, My new office mate has be rearranging the other desks lately, and recently wanted to know if I cared whether or not he moved bookcase. Since I'm a pretty easy-going guy, I said that whatever he had in mind was fine with me. But, the thing about the bookcase is that at least one hundred student portfolios are sitting on it, waiting for students to come back and pick them up--something that the students have generally seemed reluctant to do. (These portfolios contain the three essays and three rough drafts that this cirriculum requires them to do, plus all of the writing they ever did in class.) Consequently, even though the students have long graduated, even though the graduate student instructors who taught the classes have moved on, the portfolios remain waiting for a pick-up that will never happen. They are sort of a dust-covered monument to the undergraduate, academic past.

In any event, the new office mate moved all of the portfolios to a couple of the desks that are not being used. As he has brought attention to these portfolios, I became curious about them and decided to thumb through a couple. I was most interested in the previous graduate students, the past teachers of these portfolio authors, because I am currently in the position--hell, I am in the same damn office--that they themselves used to occupy. I noted their names and began to google them to see what greener pastures had lay in store for them after investing their time and money in this particular instituion. Perhaps their success would indicate what may lay in store for me if I worked hard enough.

The results were sobering. Out of eight names, only one turned up: Brian S. And he currently works in an all girl boarding school in Conneticut, not a University or a Community College. I suspect that the only reason that he was able to get the boarding school job is that those types of jobs are harder to hire for, and therefore will accept anyone qualified person willing to work in those conditions. You will not find many people willing to choose to live with their students beyond the normal teaching day. Part of me had hoped that because the program I am at focuses so heavily on its unique approach to teaching that all of the students would be more valuable, and therefore more hirable, in the work force. I expected to see more than half of the names as instructors at community colleges around the country, and even one or two at a full fledged University. They, apparently, are not. I need to really laser my efforts here to not only overcome the previously difficulties I have had, but to acheive some measure of distinction that will help me get a lucrative job in the future. I am doing a pretty good job with my comments in class, but I need to keep up on the all of the homework and improve my writing skills by at least one thousand percent.

12 October 2004
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