I love convocation…
May 28th, 2009
I love convocation, especially in spring. I think itâ€™s one of the best things we do. The experience is always a fine balance of ritual formality and excited unpredictability. So many people are so nervous that anything can happen.
As with so many of us who were formally schooled about, ahem, three decades ago, I never attended any one of the three convocations in which my name appeared on the program. In my time, undergraduates more or less boycotted graduation ceremonies for being dated, stuffy events that had nothing to do with us, but were instead designed strictly for potential donors. As far as I know, the only people who showed up for convocation in the â€˜sixties were American-born business students or engineers in favour of the Viet Nam War, or very rich kids whose parents insisted on a photo opportunity. By the time my graduate degrees were conferred, I was living on the opposite side of the country. Travel was costly and prohibitive, but I also remained ambivalent about actually attending the ceremony. In all cases, the grandly sealed parchments were snail-mailed to me, to be framed much later in my career. Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate the symbolic value of certain rituals.
Do you watch Desperate Housewives?
May 21st, 2009
Do you watch Desperate Housewives? Come on, everyone does. Last week, one of the star couples exchanged comments about social networking. Lynette (Felicity Huffman) was trying to urge her husband (Doug Savant) Tom Scavo to cheer up. She had landed a well-paying corporate job and was full of confidence. He was gloomy because heâ€™s been having a midlife crisis for at least two seasons. She finally convinced him to put on a suit and pursue some job interviews. He returned from these dejected, having not understood the question about whether he had ever used Twitter in a marketing campaign. Lynette, who is cool and confident and obviously with it, explains what it is. He is mortified. Why hadnâ€™t she told him? Well, if you have to ask you probably shouldnâ€™t be competing for jobs with 30-year-olds. (more…)
I think this is a good idea…
May 11th, 2009
I think this is a good ideaâ€”starting a blog on the School of Graduate Studies pages, that is. I am not planning on regretting it. I have been in the job less than a year and if there is one thing I have learned so far it is that there is an awful lot going on in this office.Â No day is like any other, and you never know what is going to come at you. Keeping your head down is not an option. I remember well a time when I could not imagine why anyone would want to dedicate most of their time to academic administration, and, in truth, like many of my colleagues, I more or less looked down upon many of those who had followed the call, so to speak. I thought that with few exceptions they were dangerously close to being dorks. Yet, here I am, occupying the very role I once failed to fathom. And I love it. Graduate Studies is a dynamic place, experiencing a surge of growth and an aggressive sense of possibility. The challenge to meet the high expectations Memorial has placed on the office is exciting. It requires strong team work, a heightened sense of responsiveness, openness to new opportunities, and a hell of a lot of energy. If I can keep leading my aerobics classes in the field house three times a week, with a weekly hula hoop session for core strengthening, then I think I can keep pace with the demands. Learning how to use more than one hoop at a time helps. (more…)