Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pro-tips for the new semester from Dr. Amelia.

Hello my new students! As you are wrapping up your time camp counseling, working for free at your basketweaving internship or sitting on the beach perhaps, your mind has turned for a moment to what will happen in a week or two as you re-enter the hallowed halls of academia. I was a student for a long time, so here are my tips for a great year.

1. You know that syllabus I took the time to send you a couple of weeks ago, so you'd know that we have out-of-class obligations? Read it. Don't show up the second week of school and tell me you have an important sorority obligation that will keep you from going to see the speaker we've arranged for all sections of BW 257 on Thursday night. I won't be impressed.

2. Don't e-mail me and ask if you really have to buy the books. You do.

3. Don't e-mail me at 1 a.m. with a question about the paper due at 8 and expect my lack of response to automatically give you an extension. I'm kind of bitchy about those things.

4. Your phone/tablet/phablet has an airplane mode option - practice switching that on now. I've never even met you, but I can tell you already that you don't have the self-discipline to ignore buzzing or beeping in your pocket or bag. And nothing ticks me off faster than your answering texts in my class.

5. Our basketweaving department has an attendance policy, so you get a few absences that don't count against you. Be smart - if you have alcohol flu 3 times the first month of school, you will be dragging your sorry self out of your bed when you have the real flu in December. And you will infect others. I won't be impressed.

6. Never offer to have your mommy call me. Ever. Will I be impressed? No.

7. Don't bring in cafeteria food to eat in class. I know that some of you have classes scheduled right through the lunch block (funny, so do I), so if, when class starts, you are still chewing that last bite of the sandwich you made yourself to eat on the walk over, I'll pretend I don't see. I WILL see the fried shrimp. Then I will see you eat it in the hall.

8. I know class meets early. This does not turn pajama bottoms into pants. You are in college now, so I can tell you...that kind of magic is not real.

9. I manage to commute to campus, find a parking space and arrive at class on time. So can you. I believe in you.

10. If you are having some kind of legitimate problem, tell me early and in the minimum detail needed. "I'm having surgery on the 27th, and will miss a quiz" is plenty of detail. I'm bitchy, but not an actual monster, so if you tell me this on the 5th, I will work with you.


  1. Regarding 6: Whenever a student hands me a cell phone, or whenever someone calls my office phone claiming to be a parent, I hide behind FERPA. I tell that federal law requires that I maintain confidentiality about how students are doing in my classes, and I will not do so unless I can get both you and the student to deliver a filled-out FERPA release form to me during my office hours, and even then I will be checking picture IDs. So far, no one has jumped through all these hoops.

    I also never, never, never talk on a student's phone, for any reason. Yuck! Dog germs!

  2. 2. Don't e-mail me and ask if you really have to buy the books. You do.

    No, you don't have to buy the books. You can fail the course without them.

  3. The graphic looks so normal. Is CM sick today?

    1. Well, except for the fact that the head seems to be attached to the body in a nonstandard way. I found myself feeling a bit worried looking at it.

    2. Yes, I'd ask Cal to reflect back on a past anatomy class - or just look in a mirror - and reconsider the head / neck continuum.

  4. I don't care if they eat in class so long as

    a) it's not to smelly or noisy.
    b) they throw their trash away after class.

    1. Me, too. But the smelly option seems to be increasing (along, I suspect, with the proliferation of various "choose your ingredients and we'll cook them for you" dining options. Sandwiches are so 20th century, apparently.)

  5. "9. I manage to commute to campus, find a parking space and arrive at class on time. So can you. I believe in you."

    Love the last sentence.

    Since there are enough parking spaces for faculty but not for students at my campus, I advise students to arrive 90 minutes early the first few weeks, find a spot, and then use the extra time to get a jump on the reading. The parking situation will ease up as the slackers drop out after the first exam.

  6. Like Amelia, I'm not easily impressed, but I'm impressed by this list. Also, we seem to share some students.

  7. I don't care if they wear pajamas, as long as they don't gap.

    You may think you're the new hotness, kid, but I don't want to see your junk.

  8. Dont be like Idiot Ian who called me at 11pm asking if I am "going to cover anything important in our 8am class" because he's thinking of sleeping in. GO TO BED EARLY so you can get up early enough to get to class!! Oh wait, that's what I was doing, before Idiot Ian's call woke me up. The phone company should give Idiot Ian a commission on the amount I now pay for an unlisted number.