Re: Free advice to undergraduates

1

What if it was just a simple "I need you"?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:48 AM
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Will you wear my pin, Labs? Will you be my bitch?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:49 AM
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Tim, I hadn't thought of that skit in years. Holy shit, that's funny.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:55 AM
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Free advice to bloggers:I ain't your student (and I don't think many of your students hang here), or your therapist or your mother.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:56 AM
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5

Aargh. Not exactly the same vein, but a student has been emailing me in the past week about which class to take next semester. I gave her some info about the classes, told her to look at their websites, and suggested that she talk to the professors and go to the first day of class if she still can't make up her mind. No matter what I told her, she wrote back again. She wanted me to tell her what class to take, and wasn't happy with any other answer.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:59 AM
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I trust you abused that power, Blume.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:07 AM
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I had a student last term who kept asking me whether he should drop or not. And I'd say, well, here's where you are now, and the likely outcomes... and he'd keep asking for a drop/no drop sort of endorsement. Eerie.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:11 AM
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For a while I was pushing a system where anybody who asked me a question that could be answered with one press of the "I'm feeling lucky" button on google had to give me a quarter, but nobody would do it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:11 AM
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I told her to take the one that will probably have more trouble getting students. With the professor I like better.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:11 AM
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What happens if you press the "I'm feeling lucky" button, Tweety?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:12 AM
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You know, not everyone is connected to the internet at all times the way you are, Sifu.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:12 AM
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The fools!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:14 AM
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I told her to take the one that will probably have more trouble getting students

You sent her to "Offal and Effluvium in Early Norse Mythology"?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:17 AM
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Sometimes the students just seem so lost and are looking for any guidance at all. It's depressing how paralyzed they become with regard to their own lives.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:19 AM
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It's depressing how paralyzed they become with regard to their own lives.
Thank goodness this passes once you start grad school.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:20 AM
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Sadly, no. To "Introduction to 20th-Century German Literature". It's it's the first course after the language sequence and is taught in German, so it's hard to get students to make the leap.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:21 AM
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15: It's paralyzing, how depressed they become.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:23 AM
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It's becoming that they're paralyzed. So, so kinky.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:27 AM
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Paralyzed like the hammerer of cabbages they've become.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:30 AM
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20

Is a cabbage hammerer like a cob logger?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:33 AM
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seem so lost

A sign of alertness, no? Looking for guidance, not so much.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:34 AM
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22

Very like indeed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:35 AM
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23

Labs, I need you to clean my house for me, okay? The stupid property manager is coming over this afternoon, and we all know I'm not going to do it, and Mr. B. freaks out about having people see what slobs we are. So like, you'll be saving my marriage. Kthx!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:37 AM
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They probably want you to tell them what to do so they can later blame you if it doesn't work out for them.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:37 AM
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Mr B and I are a lot alike. I am frightened and excited by this.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:38 AM
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FL, Mr. B is wasted on B. Only you can make him happy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:43 AM
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I keep a clean house, Emerson. It's nothing to sneeze at.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:44 AM
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Clean houses cause immune system problems, including sneezing.

Maybe you, B, Mr. B, The Boyfriend, and a player to be named later could form a pentagram family and do witchcraft.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:46 AM
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It's nothing to sneeze at.

Cup?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:47 AM
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30

3. Anystatement containing I need a better grade in this course should be grounds for flogging.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:48 AM
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Labs, all the more reason you should come over here and clean up a little. Mr. B. would be so grateful.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:55 AM
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32

Can I wear the maid outfit? or would that be oppressively reinforcing gender stereotypes or something?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 9:56 AM
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33

You can wear whatever you want. Have at it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:00 AM
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34

You know what's sad? Cleaning your house would be much more enjoyable than what I really have to do this afternoon.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:03 AM
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You can wear whatever you want. Have at it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:05 AM
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36

Who would the fifth person be? I say Stevie Nicks. She worked so well in Fleetwood Mac.

You should make candid films too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:05 AM
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34: A lot of ISBN numbers to figure out, eh?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:05 AM
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5 may be one just so trust and value your opinion, not being foolish or lost
wouldn't refusal to give a sincere straighforward advice feel like betrayal of teacher-student, senpai-kouhai relations?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:06 AM
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38: That's not what the comment means, read. An unfortunately large number of students have a tendency to ask questions they shouldn't ever ask.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:10 AM
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40

whups, I missed the `5' in 38 somehow, sorry.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:11 AM
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41

If you billed them by the hour, you'd welcome easy tasks and silly questions. All hail the billable hour!


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:13 AM
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42

Yes, I think read was giving advice on the Emerson-funded occult orgy, not the irritating student emails.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:13 AM
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41: I don't actually think that's true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:14 AM
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My feeling is that Stevie is available and would welcome the attention.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:23 AM
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34: Let's trade.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:23 AM
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If you saw the meeting agenda that's sitting in front of me, B, you wouldn't be so quick to say so.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:33 AM
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47

I don't actually think that's true.

If you billed at the same rates lawyers do, I bet it would be.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:39 AM
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48

I'm game. I'd love to have a clean house, and I feel really shitty about the fact that I'm not going to clean it. I can sit in a meeting and zone out with the best of 'em.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:41 AM
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||

If you billed them by the hour, you'd welcome easy tasks and silly questions. All hail the billable hour!

Yeah, actually I wind up feeling guilty about billing for really easy, trivial stuff. Alot of 0.1s trickle down the drain that way. Alot more trickle down because partners /other associates who ask easy, trivial questions get stingy with billing numbers (because they don't really want the client/billing partner seeing they had to ask such an easy, trivial question).

|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:49 AM
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They probably want you to tell them what to do so they can later blame you if it doesn't work out for them.

A more charitable interpretation might be that they have no experience with the classes and they know that you do, so they see you as someone more able to choose between them. However, this would only be true if you also knew the student well.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:52 AM
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Maybe you, B, Mr. B, The Boyfriend, and a player to be named later could form a pentagram family and do witchcraft.

What about the nonplayer character, Ben w-lfs-n?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:52 AM
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52

The male imbalance would be too great. Bjork might be another possible fifth.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:54 AM
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Mr. B. would be a big fan of the Bjork idea.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:57 AM
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54

Do you think she'd bring the dead-swan dress?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:57 AM
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55

OK, I'll contact her.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:57 AM
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56

Oh god I want to bitch on this topic. Instead I think I shall hold office hours. Commenting with a roomful of students!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:59 AM
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57

If you can answer your question with a quick google search, do that instead of asking me to do it for you.

Do you realize how much tuition is these days? It is not like you are pressed for time or having anything else important to do.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 10:59 AM
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58

Court went well. I got to make someone my little bitch. I didnt want to have to do it. He left me no choice.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:01 AM
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59

Hitler said that about Poland, Will.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:02 AM
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55: to the Bjorkphone!

56 also to 55.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:04 AM
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That is ok. I was Poland last week.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:06 AM
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58: Sometimes a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:08 AM
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Heh. I'm getting some entirely pointless pleasure out of pushing opposing counsel's associate around on a case. Nothing all that interesting or substantive -- little scheduling and discovery issues. And I'm not being unkind to him. But he doesn't know what he's doing at all, and I've got him agreeing thoughtlessly to anything I tell him to do, and being grateful that someone's providing him with guidance. Someone should remind him that I'm not on his side.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:09 AM
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61: We're all somebody's Poland in the long run.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:11 AM
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65

You are really in New York, right? Because I've been that associate...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:12 AM
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66

You know, I find this attitude on the part of the undergrads mystifying. When I was in school I hardly ever e-mailed my professors (usually just for important administrative things) and I think I went to office hours once. This was mostly my shyness, true, but I also just didn't have any questions that I couldn't find out the answers to in other ways.

The only time I e-mailed a professor with a general question was when I was registering for courses before the fall semester of my freshman year. I wanted to take a seminar that was really intended for sophomores, but I was concerned that it might have already filled up and I wanted to know if there were any other similar courses that I might take either that semester or in the future. So I e-mailed the (very distinguished, though I'm not sure I knew that at the time) professor and asked if she knew of any other classes similar to hers. She wrote back to say that her class wasn't full as far as she knew, so I could just sign up for that. I did, and it ended up being one of the best classes I took in college.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:15 AM
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Looking back, I find it really weird that I did that, actually. I can't imagine doing something like that now. I was just in a different frame of mind at that point, and I was trying very hard to change my life and how I approached it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:17 AM
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65: The fun bit of it is that I used to work for the guy he's working for now, so I'm pretty sure he's not getting a whole lot of hands on guidance. Odds are nothing will come of it -- there hasn't been anything substantive to take advantage of him over. But it's always entertaining seeing an opening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:20 AM
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Why am I reminded of the time I had to call security to get the under grad out of my office at CUNY? The kid got back his 88 (or whatever) and without even looking at the comments said "I can find two points here." He believed that his own candor abut motivation unfairly prejudiced me against the facts of his case (which was yet to be determined.) And so he staged his own little sit in.


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:20 AM
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67: What's weird about that? That was a perfectly appropriate question for you to have asked.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:20 AM
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Alot of 0.1s trickle down the drain that way.

Wow.

At least I can usually round to the nearest .5 hour, which simplifies trying to keep track of assorted 0.1 hours.

Of course my time is billed at a significantly lower rate than yours.

66 -- Teo, we really are the same person.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:24 AM
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it's always entertaining seeing an opening

Hence the timeless appeal of Mr. Goatse.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:26 AM
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LB, it isn't fair to use your Voice on the poor guy.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:26 AM
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74

When taking Spanish III as a freshman I asked my instructor if I were doing well overall; basically I wanted an am-I-where-I-should-be-and-what-needs-work temperature check, because wow, college was a lot harder than high school. She looked at me for long moments and then said, if I translated it correctly, which is iffy, "Robust, you speak the Spanish of the mountains." I think it's probably the sweetest way any instructor ever tried to let me down easy.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:32 AM
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I also just didn't have any questions that I couldn't find out the answers to in other ways.

Yeah, my undergrad (and grad) student experience was like that as well. I think what Labs et al. are describing is comparatively new. Though, of course, you're just recently graduated, teo, so I don't know.

But nevermind that caveat. I speculate that the increasing casualness of email and of instant messaging (which seems to ignore the possibility that you're, you know, interrupting someone) encourages this kind of contact-your-professor behavior.

I tell ya, it's all downhill from here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:33 AM
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74: Oh man, listening to my fellow high school students filter Spanish through thick Southern accents was always a blast. "HOE-la! Mee yammo Roxanne!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:37 AM
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76: My Spanish I teacher in high school asked if anyone had signed up because they thought Spanish was just English with -o on the end of every word and there were hands that went up. Then someone said, "I'm taking Spanish 'cause I work at BI-LO and a lot of Mexicans shop there."

My people are a frequent source of shame.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:45 AM
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"I'm taking Spanish 'cause I work at BI-LO and a lot of Mexicans shop there."

Reading this with a thick southern accent is truly joyful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:47 AM
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Spanish was just English with -o on the end of every word

That's Pig Spanish.

I work at BI-LO and a lot of Mexicans shop there

That seems like a perfectly logical reason to take Spanish, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:47 AM
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My Spanish accent is very unique (some would say terrible), because my Spanish teacher, for all three years I took Spanish, was Pakistani. Spanish was her 3rd language; English was her second.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:49 AM
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She looked at me for long moments and then said, if I translated it correctly, which is iffy, "Robust, you speak the Spanish of the mountains."

Do I dare tell Robust that that's not what "monstruoso" means?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 11:54 AM
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If you billed at the same rates lawyers do, I bet it would be.

Not really. I really hate doing that sort of stuff. Getting overpaid paid well for can make it better, in the sense that I'm doing something unpleasant but it's a conscious trade off. Similarly there are some jobs I would never do under normal circumstances, but might consider if a fixed amount of time would materially change my life. You don't have to pay me all that much if I can have some fun (hence academia and 1/3 of the salary)

I did a bit of contract work that billed a couple hundred + an hour, so it's not a purely academic stance I'm taking. When it was challenging/interesting I liked it ok. When it was drudgework or stuff that someone should have done themselves or whatever, I disliked it. It somehow didn't help much to know I'd be billing the lazy bastard for it, either.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:03 PM
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What's weird about that? That was a perfectly appropriate question for you to have asked.

It's just so out of character for me. Keep in mind that this was literally the only time in four years that I did anything like this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:46 PM
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(because they don't really want the client/billing partner seeing they had to ask such an easy, trivial question).

"0.1 - Looked up Appellate Rule 4 for shareholder, reported on contents."

Yeah, I admit, I didn't put that one down on my timesheet, either.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 12:52 PM
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75: Communication is easier these days, yeah, but if it seems like students these days make inconsiderate requests or need to be led by the hand more than they used to, I think part of the reason it seems that way is just a problem with the reporting.

Sure, I've never asked a teacher to grade me more leniently for some personal reason, and I've definitely never staged a one-man sit-in to get that. But I did squeak through the requirements for my second major (it didn't say anywhere that you couldn't count the same class for two different requirements, but then again it didn't say anywhere that you could either), and there was a program I tried to get recommendations for at the last minute, and there were plenty of classes I got into after normal registration. I don't remember those exchanges as being as much of an imposition as asking a teacher to definitively recommend a class would be, but I'm not the person to ask.

And another reporting problem might be that people were asking stupid questions by phone or even mail back in the day, but it wasn't us, so we didn't notice it. And everyone gets nostalgic about how everything was easier in the good old days, even the undergrads.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 1:05 PM
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No such thing as a dumb question, so long as it is just one. No student should go through a college class these days (or high school) without getting toe to toe with the teacher and asking a question. Lots of youngsters (including 21 year olds who can think like 11 year olds in times of stress) need to get prompted to do that. If it is a dumb question, that they can answer with Google just make the referral and see about a second question.


Posted by: cfw | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 2:43 PM
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87

i think people are doing this just to make social connexion.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 01-29-08 8:32 PM
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