Thursday, October 19, 2017

Not Knowing What Our Students Don't Know

I was sitting in my office yesterday morning during office hours when I found out that Gord Downie died. Gord was lead singer of The Tragically Hip, a band that I love and is important to me, and that's something that is true for a lot of other people who live in Buffalo. I was sad, still am sad, still bummed, and I've been playing a lot of Hip songs in the last 24 hours.

Back to yesterday -- I was listening to the Hip in my office, sad, waiting for a student to arrive for an appointment. I knew she was coming to talk about career paths. She's a student in one of my Sociology classes. She doesn't major in Sociology but wanted my help in exploring careers.

During our meeting, I asked if she had an internship yet, and I talked with her about the process of pursuing an internship, and how she could earn three credits for completing one. This was new information to her, a junior student. It surprised me in the moment that she didn't already know what I told her. I guess I assumed that what I told her was the kind of well-known information that students possess these days. But, still thinking about our conversation, I don't know why I was surprised. I didn't know anything about internships when I was a college student. I never had an internship. I went to class, did my work, went to the library, partied, played rugby, rinse and repeat. It wasn't until my junior year when a professor asked me if I wanted to be a research assistant that I realized there was something more than my normal college routine. It was from there that I began to look beyond my day-to-day college life and began to think seriously about career possibilities. I'm not saying my conversation with my student was anywhere near that significant or important. I'm saying I'm glad I was reminded that the things we might think are common knowledge aren't necessarily so.

I've been in university communities for so long that my conception of common knowledge has changed. I have to remember what it's like to be a busy young person who might not have access to valuable information. I need to be more mindful about sharing this kind of information. As one of the first people in my extended family to go to college, I know what it feels like to navigate the unfamiliar world of higher education.

Song of the Day - Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) by the Tragically Hip




Thank you, Gord Downie, for your creativity, your songwriting, your humanity.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gord Downie, Rest in Peace

The talented and charismatic Gord Downie has passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

Another time I'll write about how Gord ushered me through my angst-ridden twenties.

For now, I'll leave with you with the beautiful Bobcaygeon from The Tragically Hip.

Could have been the Willie Nelson, could have been the wine.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Thoughts of the Day from Morrissey

Here, Morrissey dispenses some good advice, especially the part about staying in bed.

But "Spent the Day in Bed" is not only about staying in bed.

There's a Marx sounding line about worker exploitation:

"I spent the day in bed as the workers stay enslaved"

There's media criticism too:

"Stop watching the news
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn't your own"

And some good old fashioned existentialism "Life ends in death" that transitions to encouraging self-care:

"So, there's nothing wrong with
Being good to yourself
Be good to yourself for once"