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August 29, 2005



You should have your picture taken on the first day of school with your lunch box! (That was always my family's tradition growing up.)




I am surprised you would favor those brands. It seems out of character.

Anybody have a list of companies with good track records?


Rainbow, the shirt and the tie and the pants were all bought about 1997, long before I began to think about where I ought to buy clothes. I wear them so infrequently that, if cleaned and pressed, they are perfectly serviceable.


Free health insurance?! Wow. I am totally in the wrong branch of higher ed.

Does that always/usually come with tenure? I'm curious because I spent two grueling hours in a health insurance renewal forum on Friday, and I'm pretty sure there were tenured professors there. So it might not be a benefit at my college.

I'm definitely getting old when this is the benefit about which I'm most concerned.


No, it doesn't always come with tenure! It does come for most full-time public college and university profs in California; those in private higher ed have more of a mixed bag. At the community college level, health benefits are negotiated with our "district" much as they are for K-12 teachers. Ours are, blessedly, very good. I realize I am colosally fortunate.


I've had the extraordinary fortune of landing an adjunct gig for the upcoming year that comes with free health and dental.

As a fellow school lifer, I appreciate your discussion of the "real world" canard. It's rhetorical use is, essentially, to assert that the challenges and difficulties faced (and often overcome) by the "real-world" inhabiting speaker are somehow a greater concern than those who inhabit some artificial construct of a world. The notion that some parts of the world are more real than others seems pretty nonsensical to me, but I'm a pointy-headed academic, so what do I know?

The best line on the "real-world" rhetorical canard came from the excellent "King of the Hill." Reaching a point of exasperation with the abstract lecture of some hippy-ish teacher, Hank Hill frustratedly asserts "Look, I live in the real world, where men sell propane and propane excessories."


I know what you mean about the first day of school.

Actually I'm going through the first week where I work helping students register, find their rooms keys after they misplaced them, get them signed up for insurance, interviewing work study students to help out over the year, etc.,

There is definitely a buzz about it which you get at no other job I think, I'm not quite sure why...

Plus my own youngest daughter just graduated last May from community college too and is now heading into a four year college to get a BA (she got an AA this year).

Honestly after helping her register last week at the 4 year college, I have to admit the community college she came from was better and more helpful to us in everyway. Even their website was more user friendly. I find from my limited experience that community colleges are more helpful to their students. I think they have more interest in wanting their students to graduate, like really take it personally if you don't. I mean I had professors calling my house if my daughter missed too many classes wondering if she was sick or something. Plus it was nothing in her college for the President to stop and talk to students in the hallway or outside if you ran into him.

The 4 year college she picked has an execellent reputation, yet I felt like an orphan last week running with her past everyone to try to make some sense out of everything on her new campus.

It will definitely be a big change, not sure if a good one.


"The 4 year college she picked has an execellent reputation, yet I felt like an orphan last week running with her past everyone to try to make some sense out of everything on her new campus.

It will definitely be a big change, not sure if a good one."

A bit of both good and bad, probably. Big universities do tend to ignore the students a bit, which can be jarring, BUT this is excellent preparation for the working world where the students will soon have to fend for themselves. It will no doubt be tough at first, but I'm sure she'll do fine.


Where else will you regularly encounter such an extraordinary cross section of American society? A high-rise corporate office, filled with the well-groomed and the comfortable, is surely far less "real" than a classroom filled with recent immigrants, recovering alcoholics looking for a thirty-ninth chance, ambitious high schoolers anxious to get ahead, and more than a dozen different native languages! If what we mean by the "real world" is a place where one encounters an authentic representation of who populates this country, I'm not clear that many places are more "real" than an urban community college!

What an incredible sentiment! I started my twenty-third continuous year (give or take) as a student last week, moving from a state school that's about as urban as you can get (a quarter mile from Chicago's loop) to a private institution as steeped in privilege and conservative American whiteness as you're liable to find in mainstream academia. The transition has been disconcerting in more ways than one for this liberal atheist city-dweller, starting grad school (again) at a conservative Catholic university in the middle of the corn. Fortunately, I decided to teach a math class at the local community college to help pay for a car, and it's heartening to see a diverse student body representing the true population of Anysmalltown, USA.

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