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April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

Be responsible when following your passions

Ray Anthony’s rendition of “Pete Kelly’s Blues” oozed from the jukebox. I returned from the bar with a pitcher of beer and a large bowl of popcorn.

Stubby and Elmer walked into the Faculty Lounge tavern together. Spotting me, they headed toward the table and sat down. I did the pouring.

“What up, McDrool?” I said, pushing a full glass toward Stubby.

“Not much. Same ole same ole,” replied Stubs, fortified by his first swallow.

“And you, Professor Flatnoggen?” I said with false gravity. “How goes it?”

Elmer merely grunted, one hand with popcorn, the other with a beer.

“Tell you what,” Stubbs said, studying the popcorn. “I have some real concerns about our soon-to-be-graduated students.”

“How so?” Elmer queried, lifting his glass.

“Some of them have huge student loans,” Stubby continued. “One of my advisees told me his roommate has racked up close to $60,000.”

“My God,” I said. “What’s his major?”

Stubby responded, “Don’t know. But I guess no job prospects or plans to attend graduate school.”

“How’s he ever going to pay it off?” Elmer queried.

“Don’t know,” Stubby rejoined. “But I don’t think anyone ever talked to him about that part of it when he was choosing his major.”

“Sounds like some adviser dropped the ball.” I commented.

“Probably goes back further than that.” Elmer interjected, filling his glass. “Probably back to high school. No one ever talked to these kids about the costs of college or gave them any notion of a payback concept.”

“Yeah,” Stubby agreed. “Today, it’s all about ‘following your passion.’”

“Well, nothing wrong with that, as long as there’s also a good dose of common-sense economics to go with it,” I said.

“Spoken like a true business professor,” Elmer said with a smile on his face. “But I do think you’re right.”

Silence descended as another round was poured. Ray Anthony went silent, replaced by Sinatra singing about “The Summer Wind.”

“So what to do about it? Just keep educating students to enter fields with no employment prospects? Should everyone become an engineer or doctor?” Stubby asked.

“Reminds me of Churchill’s comment about needing engineers in the world but not needing a world of engineers,” I said.

Elmer grunted. “Schurrer, you’ve got more quotes up your sleeve than any CPA I know.”

“Just how many CPA’s do you know?” I asked.

“Just you,” Flatnoggen responded. Chuckles all around the table.

“That’s probably all you’ll ever want to know,” Stubby said. “Seriously though, how can you argue against following your passion? I think everyone at this table has followed theirs.”

“But,” I replied, “Takes time to get to the point where you can do that. In my case, about 30 years. I don’t think you can have everything you want all at once.”

“True. A lot of students today have been handed everything, to the point where they can’t even think on their own. We’re supposed to teach critical thinking, but, for most of them, all their news and information comes from snippets on the Internet.” Elmer said.

Stubby joined in. “A lot of my undergraduates can’t write a decent essay. You know: an introduction, development and substantiation, a response to objections and a summary.”

“I think a good share of the blame lies with elementary and high schools. And we’re supposed to whip them into shape after they’ve been through 12 years of neglect and spoon-feeding.” Elmer said.

“Elmer Flatnoggen, you’re a man after my own heart. I’ve been saying this for some time now.” I said. “Question is, what can we do about it? I don’t think the students are at fault.”

“The students and their parents should take their elementary and high schools to task for malpractice.” Stubby said, a sarcastic tone in his voice.

“Have another beer, Stubbs,” I said. “I think you’ll need it. Sounds like this is going to be a long, long conversation.”

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