Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scream of the Day

Thursday: Secretary (Day) / Server (Night)
I can only justify the ridiculousness of humankind by the fact that it is a full moon. All the werewolves have emerged and have shown their fangs.
This morning, a happy little morning here in the Education Department, the phone rang. I happily answered the happily ringing phone to hear a woman on the other end asking to speak with the Department Chair.
"May I tell her who's calling?" I ask sweetly, in my best polite-secretary voice ever
She tells me her name, to which I respond, "And what is this regarding?"
To this she says, "This is regarding me speaking to the Department Chair."
Who says that???
I am doing my job, which is filtering the phone calls for the DC (Department Chair)! When a secretary asks what your call is regarding or what your call is in reference to, we are NOT being nosy, we are DOING OUR JOB!
With this response, I thanked her, pushed the 'hold' button, and went to rant and rave with the DC. Because of the way the person spoke to me, the DC refused to speak with her. (Remember that people! If you're mean to the secretary, chances are the call may not go through.)
I picked up the holding line, and said, "I apologize, however, the Department Chair is unavailable, may I take a message?" At this time, the woman on the other end gave me her number and told me briefly what her call was in reference to--THAT'S WHAT I ASKED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!! Had she told me initially, she may have been permitted to speak with the DC.
On this same topic, I get A LOT of people who call to speak with the DC, and when I ask them what it's in reference to, they answer, "It's personal." That's unacceptable. I don't care about your situation, be as brief as humanly possible. I don't care! But the department chair doesn't know half the people who call, and all of them say "It's personal!" I'm not looking for your ENTIRE situation, you could just say, "It's in reference to a course." OR "It's in reference to an instructor." OR "It's in reference to a grade." That's all I need! I couldn't care less about you or your situation! I'm only trying to do my job! Let me!
Since I'm on a roll, I'm just going to keep going. In addition, it makes me want to rip my hair out when a student enters the office and says, "I have an appointment with my instructor." I then ask, "Who is your instructor?" The dear-in-headlights look (I get it EVERY time), and the student responds, "Oh, I forgot his (or her) name...uh, something that starts with a "D." What! You are a college student! You are attempting to get your degree to become a PROFESSIONAL and you don't even know your instructor's name????!!!!
I understand getting a little confused in the beginning of the semester, but we are now in week 9 of the semester, and you still don't know your instructor's name? Well, then I guess it'd be okay if I sent you to speak with any instructor? WTF?
Students DEMAND respect. They DEMAND a chance to prove themselves. They DEMAND certain grades (even if they haven't earned it). They DEMAND instructors to bend over backwards at their every whim. Yet, they cannot find it within themselves to know the person's name with whom they demand so much.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Almost-4-year-old Sob Story

I have the saddest and cutest story that will break your heart, but I have to share because I'm an aunt; it's what I do.

My sister has two children, almost-4-year-old Cee (nickname, of course), and 2-year-old Pea (short of Sweet Pea--also a nickname).
My mom (the girls call her Emmy), signed Cee up for ballet, and she signed Pea up for swimming. Ballet was scheduled to start last Friday. All last week, Pea was sick with a gross stomach bug. Cee was very excited about ballet, and knew she had to be strong and well for her class. When Friday came, my sister woke Cee up for school and started getting her ready. Sis noticed that Cee didn't really look well, so she asked, "You feelin' okay?" Cee replied, "Yes, mommy, I want to go to ballet. I have to be strong." With that, Cee dressed, and they headed off to school. My sister works in the same building as Cee's preschool, just in a different room. When they got to school, Sis asked Cee again, "Are you sure you're feeling okay, Cee?" Cee once again replied, "Yes, mommy, I'm going to dance class too-later." (A little Cee-ism.)
Finally, right at the end of the day, Sis gets a call to come to the preschool room. When she gets there, she finds Cee on her knees on the classroom floor, where she had just vomited. Looking pale as a ghost, she looked up at Sis and said as she cried, "I want to go to ballet, mommy. I just wanna dance. I just wanna dance." Sis said she cried as well, picked Cee up and told her that if her belly hurts, she can't go to dance class. Cee was devastated.
Because Emmy was going to take her to the class, Cee's outfit was at Emmy's house. My sister went over to the house and grabbed her outfit and let Cee dance around the house. I was out to dinner with my mom at the time, and the phone rings. It's Cee, "Thanks for my swippers, Emmy, and my 'tard, us dancin in the house!" She sounded happy, definitely tired and sick, but it was sweet to know that she was still able to dance around--even if it wasn't in class. She has a tall mirror in her room too, and Sis said that Cee kept spinning around and trying to watch herself at the same time.
How cute?! How sad?! :)

Time Sucker

Friday: Secretary (Early Day) / Off! (Night)

The Boss Lady in my department always says that someone has sucked the hours out of the day, and she's absolutely right! I'm not sure if little elves or creatures in the walls are the culprit, but something somewhere is sucking every minute out of every day. I don't really have a lot of room to breath. Okay, okay, so I'm being melodramatic, but really.

Something has been on my mind this week, and although I didn't think to blog about it now, I am trying to let it fly from my brain. This week in class, we were talking about having "emotional intelligence" and what that means. We were discussing different types of people and how some can read their emotions and others cannot.
During this discussion, I was using depression as an example, and I stated that there have been times when I've felt depressed, but it wasn't something I ever felt the need to medicate. I took it upon myself to find something (reading, writing, drawing, screaming) to "channel" that depression. It's something I learned to do, however. I didn't know how to deal with it as a child or adolescent, it was something I had to acquire.
I went on to mention that there are people out there who were never taught how to deal with their emotions, or they simply never learned, or don't have the instinct, and are unable to "cure" themselves of their emotional affliction.
A student then mentioned how there are people who are clinically depressed. I didn't disagree with this, but I think he was bringing it up because it is considered hereditary. (Which, I felt fell under the umbrella of those people who don't know how to read their emotions.) Anyway, I think I offended him because then he went on to mention that there are 25, 000, 000 people in this country who are clinically depressed, and he is currently seeing a psychiatrist for depression.
At that, I mentioned that I didn't think all of them were actually clinically depressed. (I personally feel that our country is WAY over-medicated.) I definitely should not have said that, but in the moment that was my opinion, and it came out. I immediately knew that that was not the right thing to say.
He went on to mention that he is a recovering alcoholic and at 25 years sober. The entire class applauded him. I believe he was defending his depression by saying that he was born with it and he couldn't help it (although he never came out and said that, this is just my own assessment of the situation). I then turned the conversation a little, apologizing for my being insensitive, and asked him if I could ask him a question regarding his experience.
I asked him if his drinking was what lead to the depression. He said he drank to get rid of the depression. I then said that I believe, regardless of his heredity, affliction, or diagnosis, he had a choice, and, for whatever reason, he felt, that drinking was the answer. He made that decision. Furthermore, he then made another choice, later in life, to fix his other affliction, and that was to begin treatment for alcoholism.
Regardless of our situation, we have a choice. Always and forever.
Even though I didn't articulate myself very well, I think I may have redeemed myself. He did participate throughout the remainder of the class, which made me feel good. I imagined that if he were truly upset by my statement, he would have regressed from the class discussion, but he didn't.
I'm happy to get this off my chest. I had thoughts of emailing him to ensure that he did not take true offense. I rethought that and decided it wasn't necessary. He's usually the first to arrive, so I think I'll just check with him next week.
Mind you, this conversation spawned from an article we read in class. An article that the class will have to summarize and react upon in essay form. Perhaps our controversial conversation will inspire them. Who knows?

Tomorrow: Off (Day) / Server (Night)