Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Day VidShizzle. Cancelled.

Regardless of what folks think, the vidshizzles are always made with a healthy portion of love. I was a lousy college student, and thank God I didn't have the YouTube capabilities of today's students. I can't imagine the idiocy I would have posted.

But as I often do for this site, I was going to stitch together a few funny and inane "first day of college" videos today to post. The first ones were great, kids lost, kids mad about walking 3 minutes to class, etc. Then I found 2 back to back that broke my heart. Two freshmen in their dorm rooms crying, seriously upset about being away from home, feeling lonely and lost.

It broke my heart. I spent a few sleepless weepy nights back in the 70s in my undergrad days, and it was nothing to laugh about then or now.

I start classes on Thursday, and today's little wake up call has served to remind me how young the modern student is, how fragile. Not all, of course. There will be fuckups and loudmouths and entitled brats like always.

But there will be some who are frightened and fragile, and I'm going to do my best to help them.

- Cal


  1. When I was 18, I think I was just too stupid to be afraid (or to know how afraid I was). Thank you, Jesus, for never letting me be 18 again.

    I would fall apart if I thought a youtube vidshizzle of Little 18-Year-Old Bubba existed. {{{ shudder }}}

    No doubt my 78-year-old self will say the same thing about the person I am today.

    Cinematography can be so unforgiving. Life is ridiculous. I guess this is part of the reason why I drink bourbon--to try to erase all memories of crazzzy stuff.

  2. No worries. I know you well enough to know how you feel about students. You've given a lot over decades.

    And I know what you're talking about. I started last week and had a clearly shaken and frightened student stay after class. She told me her parents demanded she talk to her professors and tell them to call the parents if she slipped up or made any errors.

    I went through all the ways that I could help her - and only her - and told her I could tell already she was going to be fine. The look of relief on her face was thrilling.

  3. Cal sent me one in question. Jesus, it really is heartbreaking. Went out of state to school. No friends yet, of course, a strange state and town, can't find food. Jesus, it is easy to forget the upheaval. Thanks for the note, Cal.

  4. The only thing that has changed, I think, is that at least some of the ones who are frightened and fragile are using a webcam to tell the whole internet how they're feeling, rather than calling mom or dad or an older sibling -- or nobody at all, because long distance is too expensive and besides the phone booth is in the middle of a noisy hall and even if they close the door someone will see them crying. In a way, the willingness to be that vulnerable in public is also pretty touching (though also, to this very late boomer, a bit weird).

    At least open vulnerability is generally easier to deal with than insecurity that comes out as braggadocio or scorn or other more offputting attitudes, though those possibilities are worth keeping in mind, especially during the first few weeks of class, as well. More of them are probably more scared then they show (or even consciously know).

  5. The worst for me was a young woman who passed out in lab on the first day. Thankfully, we were just covering the syllabus when her legs became jelly. She recovered and sat in my office, trying to compose herself. I thought she was just embarrassed so I told her not to worry, things like this happen.

    "I just found out that I'm pregnant."


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