SURPRISE!

Ok, so I lasted two months. I’ve been finding out recently that so many more people cared about my little corner of the Internet and were disappointed to see it go than I realized, so I’ve returned by popular demand.

(I’ll wait while you finish your happy dance.)

Today’s edition is called “We Hate Snow because Students are Babies.” These comments are real questions and comments we’ve received about why school is in session with less than an inch of dry powder on the ground. I’ve curated a few of my favorites and given the unofficial response that we’re not allowed to actually give but really wish we could.

“So what are you guys going to do about the weather because it’s supposed to continue until 11” (via Facebook)

Actually, we were just about to phone God and let Him know our students are being terribly inconvenienced by His choice of forecast for today and demand an immediate reversal of the decision.

“Who do I send my wrecker bill to?” (called in to the information help line)

…Your insurance company…? You have the power of free will. Yes, classes are in session and there might be a penalty if you don’t attend, but you could still choose not to attend if you’re that horrible of a driver.

(via website suggestion link) “Suggestion: Cancel classes when roads are obviously to bad for commuters to make it to the school”

I got here from the other side of town. My coworker got here from Union City. A hundred other employees got here from various parts of the region. Do you think your future boss is going to close the office for every single snowflake?

(from our last snow, campus closed) “Thanks for cancelling classes! Now is the gym open or nah…”

Let’s see here… the roads are too slick for you to get to class and we didn’t value your life enough to close campus earlier so you could turn off your alarm clock… but you want to come to the gym?

(from last snow, next day, campus open) “We are not penguins ! because the sidewalks in campus is unsafe, I saw black ice in parking lot”

First of all, you don’t see black ice. That’s the whole definition of black ice. Secondly, if the sidewalk is slick, walk in the grass for better traction. And third, you obviously need to attend your English class today, regardless of the weather.

Universities have historically rarely cancelled classes or closed offices. This is a fairly recent phenomenon, driven largely by an unwillingness to deal with “dissatisfied customers.” In fact, this institution hadn’t cancelled classes in more than a decade until my sophomore year when we legitimately had three inches of ice on every surface. Ever since then, it’s been a routine thing to close campus at the mere threat of frozen precipitation.

It’s wasted a lot of class hours, taxpayer dollars and student tuition money. You’ve paid thousands of dollars to be here, I would think you would want to be here getting your money’s worth unless it was just dangerously impossible.

Maybe if we figured up how much an unnecessary snow day costs each student…

White flakes falling from the sky is called snow. It’s not an automatic emergency situation. There is less than an inch on the ground and it’s dry and fluffy. Don’t speed and slam on your brakes and you’ll be fine.

Put on your big boy or girl underwear and learn to be an adult. College will end eventually and then you’ll be in for a shock by what’s actually expected of you.

 

My Un-countdown

As the Keith Urban song so accurately says, “Days go by, I can feel ‘em flying’ like a hand out the window in the wind.”

Most days, this just feels like any other semester. Another class schedule, another set of professors, another list of assignments. At least once a week, someone will ask me about life after graduation and we discuss the possibility of school in the Caribbean. This seems like endless years into the future.

But every other week or so, someone will specifically mention graduation. I always have to stop and consider the question for a moment.

“When do I graduate?”

It’s not just a matter of what year or what semester anymore. It’s a matter of what month. What day. How many weeks left of life as I know it.

The night before I graduated from high school, I had a panic attack. I was sitting in the stands of a friend’s graduation, at exactly the same time as mine would be the following night, and “Pomp and Circumstance” began to play. I glanced at my watch and the reality hit me: In exactly twelve hours, I would be down on that floor preparing to cross the stage into a completely unknown phase of my life.

Until that moment, I could have told you the weeks, days and probably the hours until graduation. But I had never considered the great weight I would be taking on when that countdown was over.

In college, I watched my best friend count the days until graduation, and now I think she may have been happier if she had stayed. I have finally learned not to wish away the days. Now, I am determined to enjoy every day (or at least try) until I am made to cross that stage in December.

While I am proud to be graduating with my husband and excited to receive my degrees (yes, that’s plural), the voice in my head will still be screaming in protest.

I suppose the lesson of this long, somewhat philosophical rant is to remember to value the time that you have. Don’t keep countdowns.

Don’t look around at your little apartment and count the months until your husband will be able to afford a real house (you think). Don’t count the days until you can get a different job. Don’t wish the years away until you can have children, buy a pet or afford “nicer” things.

Just go out every day and try to learn something useful from your situation, whatever that situation may be. Appreciate the sunshine, but learn to dance in the rain. And when that song, “you’re gonna miss this,” comes on the radio, take it to heart.

 

“You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” (Trace Adkins)

It’s A Crazy, Tragic, Sometimes Almost Magic, Awful, Beautiful Life

I beg forgiveness of all those who have called, texted and Facebook messaged me asking why there wasn’t a column last week.

I am honored to know so many are such loyal readers and I hope I haven’t lost anyone in the posting gap. I have learned my lesson: Write on the weekends because there’s no way you’re going to have time during the week. (There will be two this week to compensate, so check back around Thursday.)

I’m taking four classes and working three jobs, but as far as frustration goes I think the mister takes the cake for the week. He got two parking tickets within 12 hours for the same offense . . . that he didn’t commit.

Now, I’m not trying to call out our public safety officers. They work hard; they keep our campus one of the safest in the southeast and are relatively friendly. But I’d like to see the application requirements for their student ticket-writers.

The mister has a parking sticker clearly displayed on the lower driver’s side of his windshield, as required. Yet somehow he got a ticket for failure to display his permit. This was at 5:00 p.m. and the ticket office was closed.

The next morning he goes to class at 8 a.m., planning to appeal his ticket afterwards. The traffic clerk is kind enough to recognize the mistake and void the charge. Everything’s fine, right?

Wrong. Because when he got back to his truck after voiding the original ticket, he found ANOTHER TICKET on his windshield for the SAME OFFENSE! But the traffic office can’t void this one – even though the ticket writer is clearly an idiot – because second offenses must be appealed in writing. To a board that won’t meet until after the ticket is due. So we had to pay the fine.

It was not astronomical and did not break the bank by any means, but it’s the principle of the thing. I’ve never seen the mister so angry. I thought the apartment above us was going to come crashing down on top of me when he slammed the door.

I just don’t understand why public safety can’t seem to hire students who can read. Or at least see clearly. And this is not the first time someone I know has been given a ticket for an offense that didn’t make sense.

For example, how difficult is it to look at the curb and check that it’s red before citing a car for parking in a fire zone? Why can’t you verify that the sign does in fact say “30 minute parking” before writing a ticket for a time zone?

And if you’re going to write a ticket for parking the wrong direction on the side of the road, you should be sure you actually know which direction traffic is flowing. It’s just common sense.

So if you ever come visit us at school, be sure you take a picture of your car before you leave it in the lot. You never know when you’ll be fined for doing something correctly.

*Title taken from a Darryl Worley song