Lies and Untruths

Gillette, Peter

Since I’m a super senior who doesn’t open his mail, I’m not sure if Dean Gajewski still sends out his letter to all students reminding us that Midterm Reading Period is a gift to us the students, from the faculty whereby we, the students, can catch up on that work that we have oh-so irresponsibly neglected through the lazy stupor of our false starts.
It is a catch-up time, we’re always reminded. It is not, has never been, and will never be intended as a vacation. It is a time to meet with our professors, our advisors, to cut our fingers bloody on the torn edges of scholarly journals and mnemonic index cards.
It is not, of course, a time to party, because you’ll be too busy reading. And talking to your professors. But …
Hmm … Let’s see:
Student: “Professor X? Can I meet you for coffee to discuss such and such a project on Friday?”
Professor X: “Hmm, why, um, I’d love to, but I have office hours every week. Can’t you come to one of those?”
Student: “Well, it’s reading period, isn’t it? Aren’t you going to be around?”
Professor X: “As a matter of fact I’m going to research … uh, economic development techniques of, uh, central Nevada this weekend. I won’t be back ’til late Sunday night. And I may have to miss my office hours on Monday. Can’t it wait?”
This is, of course, an extreme example, but test it out.
Younger faculty members have friends, fiancs, families, and – in general, it seems – a rather dreary outlook of Appleton’s social possibilities. Older faculty, while perhaps more generally comfortable with Appleton by this point in time, are more likely to have the financial wherewithal to escape to, say, Aspen or New York or Italy or California or Door County or wherever their tenured hearts desire.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the faculty are lazy, or that most professors don’t make time for students.
What I am saying is that, this weekend, while you should be reading some 800-page English novel, don’t feel guilty when you pour a few glasses of sherry for your closest friends and desperately search for a computer on the network that has Family Guy on it. Be jealous.
Your professor is probably watching something classier and drinking something far more expensive.

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