freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
[personal profile] freckles_and_doubt
Whew! Hello, abandoned and neglected internets. So... my absence can be explained by the fact that I have been running orientation and registration simultaneously for the last two weeks, which has entailed arriving on campus before 6.30am and leaving after 5 on a daily basis, other than that one day when I ran orientation for three hours, did seven hours of curriculum advice and finished signing forms at 7pm.

I have survived the following:
  • one (1) faculty admissions fubar (500 early offers of places being revoked for non-meeting of admissions threshold in final results, screwing orientation signup more than somewhat);
  • one (1) slightly above minor orientation leader meltdown (I told them to stop doing Something Bad too forcefully and they were hurt and outraged and tried to rebuke me for it, which I resisted in spades (frequent reiteration of "this is a job") because if my own job is doing anything, it's teaching me to successfully hack off at the knees the more destructively narcissistic tendencies of Generation Z*);
  • two hundred and fifty (250) extra students in my second orientation programme, resulting in 500+ students occupying a venue designed to seat 400, leading to droves of them decorating the stairs, floor and back wall;
  • several (3) outbreaks of incompetence from administrative staff resulting in the non or very late arrival of key registration elements (forms, handbooks, signage, queue marshals) to the venue;
  • seventeen (17) trips up or down my Cherished Institution's impressive selection of stairs to migrate between my office and the reg venue, in our jolly January heat;
  • one (1) intervening weekend in which I was completely unable to do anything but lie feebly on the sofa under various cats while simultaneously hosting a varied combination of aches, lassitude and brain fuzz;
  • innumerable (?) instances of the more destructively narcissistic tendencies of Generation Z*, largely manifesting as the touching belief that their particular query or crisis was clearly more important than either the universities rules/requirements or any of the other 5 things I should be doing simultaneously, and that I should be dropping everything to attend to them at length.

So, the problem, as it has manifested over the last six or eight years, is actually that neither millenials nor Generation Z* are, at base, fundamentally compatible in any way with large-scale institutions. Both are lovely generations in many ways - connected, protective, accepting of difference - but both demonstrate, by way of both upbringing and media conditioning, absolute commitment to the central tenet of themselves as individuals, unassailably valuable in their own right. That's lovely, really it is, and probably healthy in all sorts of ways, up until the point where 6000 of them (we have a large faculty) decide that their individuality is more important than our rules, policies, structures or timetables, and that they have a right to be individually accommodated. They are deaf and impervious to the suggestion that it is not logistically possible to administer 6000 special cases, and particularly not when I, a single person with no actual assistance in my academic oversight roles, am acting as the hapless conduit to this expectation.

I am, shall we say, very tired. In the sense of completely buggered. I have a week more of reg and then another week of change of curriculum, which is slightly less demanding but brings its own new and inventive brands of challenge, difficulty and upset. Then I shall crash, probably with an exciting new 'flu bug imported by a globetrotting student from some far-flung corner of the world. Then I shall look for a new job, hopefully in New Zealand or Scotland or Canada, or somewhere else cold. I am done.

* the one with the snowflakes.

Date: Saturday, 2 February 2019 12:55 pm (UTC)
dragonlady7: self-portrait but it's mostly the DSLR in my hands in the mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragonlady7
That sounds epic and terrible. Also, astute observation about Gen Z, but I will say for the record that I do online sales and most of the people who write to me asking for special handling because they can't possibly follow the simple protocol to buy a standard product on our standard website are much older than that, and in fact basically all the people who came into the store back when I worked retail and insisted I operate the self-serve kiosk for them because they couldn't possibly be expected to do it themselves because they are Special Snowflakes were pretty firmly Boomers. So it might just be that it's a human tendency that's just expresses itself slightly differently among generations.

It is 0 degrees Fahrenheit here so the idea of it being hot anywhere is-- well, I know for a fact I learned in about 1983 that the weather is not the same everywhere in the world, but sometimes it's hard, when the skin on your face (between your balaclava and your hat, you weren't stupid enough to just go outside with your face out there like an idiot, c'mon) stings within a minute and a half of leaving the house, to even remember that sometimes it's warm out, let alone understand that somewhere in the world, someone is too hot. It just seems impossible.

Date: Saturday, 2 February 2019 01:39 pm (UTC)
dragonlady7: self-portrait but it's mostly the DSLR in my hands in the mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragonlady7
Oh good point on the institutional distrust. But that does put you in rather a bad spot.


I have the good fortune of being on the fringe of the vortex, so while parts of the country are cold enough that F and C are actually the same (-40, is when that crosses over), I'm hovering up in the lovely zones where the two scales remain incompatible. (Instagram Stories helpfully translates between F and C if you just tap the little animated dancing penguin gif enough times, so I know it's -7C today.)
We're about to have a fantastic temperature inversion, though; it's meant to climb up to freezing today, maybe warm up enough to rain (joy), and then soar well above tomorrow, and by Tuesday it'll be downright balmy, raining all the while, which means that the frozen-solid earth won't defrost, but the 3 feet of snow we got will, and we'll have some fantastic flooding and then it'll harden back into impenetrable sheets of ice until probably May, so I can't wait for that. The blizzards are easy-peasy, I don't mind those, it's the temperature fluctuations that will literally drown you.
(I wish we could send some of the excess liquid over to you! Last summer we literally had twice our annual rainfall over the course of six months, and crops rotted in the ground. The ground is still saturated and now we'll have snowmelt, eventually, if it ever defrosts enough, and massive erosion once the ice in the soil lets go........)

Ha ha ha climate change is real and we're all fucked. Cheers!

Yay Scotland!

Date: Sunday, 3 February 2019 09:13 pm (UTC)
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
From: [personal profile] firstfallenpanda
You can join us, we'll be there in 2 years, in the Inverness area 😊

You'll love it, it's all mountains and lochs and nature. Also the people are lovely, at least all those we've met!

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